UITP Awards: Birmingham Gateway Project sets standard for modern transport hubs

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The UITP Awards celebrate the most innovative and ambitious sustainable mobility projects from across the world, contributing to the sector objective of doubling the market share of public transport by 2025.

The 2017 UITP Awards were handed out during the Global Public Transport Summit in Montréal. We sat down with each winner to learn more about their project and to pick their brain about innovation in the sector.

Winner of Award for ‘Design': Atkins, Network Rail, and Mace for ‘Birmingham Gateway Project'

The ‘Birmingham Gateway Project’ is the £750m (€830m) landmark transformation of Birmingham New Street Station. The project significantly increases passenger flows inside the building, with brighter, cleaner platforms, optimised access, and a contemporary station exterior that reflects the dynamism of the city. The project integrates new pedestrian links across the city centre, giving direct access and interchange with a planned Metro stop nearby. The project leverages public transport links to build a connected society that provides opportunities for economic regeneration of the city and surrounding area.

Stephen Ashton, Engineering Director at Atkins, answered our questions.

Tell us briefly about your project:

In the early 1960s, the Birmingham New Street Station was rebuilt to accommodate 60,000 passengers a day and the concrete station came to represent the city of Birmingham for many travellers. The redesign of Birmingham New Street has transformed the reinforced concrete station into a futuristic transport hub.

In 2008, Network Rail awarded Atkins the detailed design for Birmingham New Street, where up to 170,000 passengers travel through the station each day.

Working closely with Network Rail and Mace, Atkins drew upon its range of multidisciplinary specialists to deliver the design for this extraordinary project. The station was officially reopened on September 20, 2015.

What are some of the key highlights of this project?

Birmingham New Street station has become a destination in its own right. It has redefined what a station can be – fluidly serving as a leisure, retail and transport space and delivering unprecedented levels of customer satisfaction. The new facilities realised by the collaboration between Network Rail, Mace and Atkins mean that passengers benefit from the innovative customer information system designed to improve their travel experience.

 

Passengers benefit from the innovative customer information system designed to improve their travel experience

 

What is innovative about this project and how does it push the sector forward?

One of the most striking features of the new station is the atrium, which was made possible by the creation of a Global Stability Analysis Model (GSAM), which enabled the existing 1960s concrete-framed structure to be repurposed, forming the core of the building transformation. Its integration with a new steel-framed multi-storey structure was only made possible by the development of the model.

This analysis tool was in effect a pre-cursor to Building Information Modelling (BIM). Mace used the model in the development of the 4D model which they used to visualise the sequencing of the construction works. This enabled the project team and key stakeholders to understand where efficiencies could be made in the programme. It also meant all those involved had a better understanding of the construction processes, facilitating the management of the day-to-day works and the effective promotion of a safer and more effective delivery.

 

How does this benefit public transport users?

The transformation of Birmingham New Street for the Birmingham Gateway Project is a lead example of how working collaboratively and in sympathy with your physical environment can yield breath-taking results.  Not only has the new station provided a blueprint for the redefinition of a station as a multi-purpose public space, incorporating travel, retail and leisure elements.  A destination in its own right, it attracts new visitors, stimulating the local economy and connecting the north and south of the city centre.  This has allowed easy access to the shops and workplaces south of the city centre.

 

The new station provided a blueprint for the redefinition of a station as a multi-purpose public space, incorporating travel, retail and leisure elements

 

What is on the horizon for Atkins?

The Transportation division of Atkins provides a complete range of services across the rail, highways and local transport markets, from design and project management to engineering consultancy.

Recent and ongoing projects which showcase Atkins’ commitment to working collaboratively, include the Engineering Delivery Partner role for HS2, Crossrail, M62 Smart Highways and the national rollout of the European Rail Traffic Management System in Denmark. 

 

Stay tuned for interviews with the remaining winners of the UITP Awards. 
 

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