Florida's Higher-Speed Rail TOD Takes Shape

Florida will soon feature one of the most advanced passenger rail systems in the United States. While the concept of higher-speed passenger rail in Florida has made national headlines, the fact that AAF is also developing dynamic mobility-centric urban centers of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) around its stations is a noteworthy topic in its own right.


Reaching Tampa presents some challenges because the infrastructure base to reach the bay area does not exist. Thus, a potential station site has not been identified. With that in mind, here are three areas where a potential hub could possibly be considered in the future.

Westshore Multimodal Center

The Westshore Regional Multimodal Center (WRMC) is a proposed intermodal transit center in Tampa’s Westshore Business District. With more than 54,000 jobs, Westshore is one of the largest employment centers in the Southeast United States. The WRMC would improve connections between Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, serving as a hub for local and regional buses, taxis, hotel shuttles and a future rail system. A Project Development & Environment (PD&E) study for the proposed transit center was conducted in 2014.

Courtesy of planhillsborough.org at https://www.planhillsborough.org/westshore-intermodal-center-location-study-2012/

Courtesy of Akins Global

Tampa Union Station

Opened on May 15, 1912, Tampa Union Station was originally built to combine passenger operations for the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line and the Tampa Northern Railroad at a single location. Located on the east side of downtown on track owned and operated by CSX, the station is utilized by Amtrak’s Silver Star line today. Originally built with eight tracks, only one is in regular use today.

Marion Transit Center

If the Florida High Speed Rail Corridor would have been built, it would have utilized the median of I-4 to connect Orlando and Tampa. That route would have included a new rail station adjacent to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit’s (HART) Marion Transit Center and I-275 near Tampa Heights.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com