The October event was held back at Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Kellet Island on 15.10.2013. The interesting event entitled “Transport Oriented Development – from Strategy to Implementation” was presented by Mr. Jason Hutchings, Director of Hong Kong Atkins Limited. It was well attended by over 90 members and guests.
Jason has 26 years of experience in the architectural profession, of which nearly 20 years have been in South East Asia working in design, such as Arup Associates, Rocco Design, Aedas, RMJM and Atkins. He is specialized in transportation, commercial, hotel and mixed-used redevelopment projects in Europe and Middle East, including the Landmark and Hong Kong Station in Hong Kong. Jason has also brought practical on-site experience into the design of subsequent mega-projects of 1-million square meters Sands Casino, Macau, Admiralty Station and Abu Dhabi Cultural District.
The presentation focused on the strategy and basis for Transportation Orientated Development (TOD), characterized by a pedestrian-oriented environment. Jason used examples from the UK and Dubai and China to illustrate the solution to the integration, and capitalization of mass transit in a commercial setting. TOD, in Atkins’ words, is “Development of commercial and civic opportunities inside and around transportation hubs, such that the fundamental requirements of both are mutually beneficial, and as such creates an economically sustainable model.” TOD undergoes three stages of strategy planning, station planning and scheme development. It is a useful tool for urban planning, and activating land use in urban region.
TOD opportunities increase ridership or enhance transit investments throughout the district through station design, close coordination with local jurisdictions and developers. The TOD idea, in the local context, is to integrate commercial business with the mass transit operation of the MTRC. The profit from commercial activities of property / retail of MTRC is even higher than that from the transport fares. Jason used Hong Kong Station (Airport Express) as an example, the shopping mall of the International Finance Center benefits from the in-town check-in, and commuter transport connectivity through the development. He gave further examples of Oxford Circus, London; Birmingham New Street, UK; Pingguoyuan, Beijing; Wuhan New World Chang Qing Garden Project, etc. to show that TOD increases gross floor areas of the development, boots transit ridership, reduces automobile congestion, and provides value for the public and private sectors, whilst creating a sense of community and place. In sum, the potential benefits are social, environmental and fiscal.
Jason stressed the importance attached to the intermodal passenger movement, whereby the travelling public moves vertically, activating multiple levels of retail and commercial development. He also highlighted the important issues of TOD. A prescriptive regulatory framework is typically applied to residential, commercial and retail projects. Other issues include the land and zoning requirements, transparency and publicity, market conditions and economic factors, lifespan of rail building infrastructures, and requirements of construction programmes.
In closing, Jason advised the audience that TOD should be considered at the beginning to maximize sustainability. Holistic master planning is required to maximize public transport use and connectivity. In modeling TOD, we should engage model transfer by adopting horizontal and vertical flow of passengers. He felt that the huge challenge is to get people out of cars to use public transport. But Hong Kong is doing fairly enough with TOD, citing Kwun Tong MTR Station as an example. And it should be exported to other counties.