Case Studies (Community Planning for Rail Transit)

San José, CA, USA - Diridon Integrated Station Concept Plan

The Diridon Station Area Plan and Diridon Integrated Station Concept Plan represent many aligned principles for community planning around a rail ration. Diridon is at the heart of downtown San José, and a collaborative effort among the City of San José, California High Speed Rail Authority, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and Caltrain. The Area Plan accounts for 240 acres of land surrounding the station and the Concept Plan identifies planned improvements to transform Diridon Station into a world class station with increased capacity, improved rider experience, mobility options and a vibrant community hub. The station will eventually connect high speed trains, commuter rail, local rail, bus, and mobility services all in one place. The vision for the station is to deliver a transportation hub that is seamless for the customer, connected to the surrounding neighborhood, and includes great public space for people.


Beginning in 2018, partners conducted extensive outreach to collect needs and feedback on the Station Area Plan and Concept Plan. The projects engaged a Station Area Advisory Group, created solely for the station, and the general public through meetings, online events, workshop, walking tours, and multiple surveys. Seven community-based organizations directly participated through an engagement grant program to help deliver engagement services.

Expected Outcomes

The updated Diridon Station Area Plan includes land use, open space, and public space visions for development surrounding the station. The Concept Plan details, rail track alignments, early engineering, public spaces, station layouts, and multi-modal connections. If eventually built, an integrated intermodal facility would represent many qualities and actions in this Community Design and Transportation (CDT) Manual.


The Concept Plan is the epitome of required tradeoffs and compromise to make sure all operators can provide service efficiently and safety. Each partner provided ambitions and objectives, each of which must be designed into the station and harmonize with each other. A list of operational requirements, service goals, and design features were established help meet the stations future demand. Future station work will establish governing structures, operations, and maintenance agreements between partners. Each partner funded a portion of the work and co-managed a consultant team of work class engineers and architects.


The following strategies, practices, and principles are represented in the Diridon Station Area Plan and Concept Station Plan:

  1. Establishes a sense-of-place for transit; creates a framework for multimodal operations and integrates surrounding land uses.
  2. Creates line-of-sight guides; using cues from European rail stations, Diridon is expected to have wide plazas, tall ceilings, and inviting entrances.
  3. Orient form and buildings toward the station; the Diridon land use vision including its design guidelines focus on the station as the core, with architecture and supportive uses directed towards the stations east and west entrances.
  4. Create community identity; with over thirty community led meetings and support from Google, the Diridon Area will be for the current people that live there and future people who want to live and work around the station. It incorporates displacement planning and strives to co-create spaces that represent community needs.
Design Guidelines
Policy & Implementation
The Role of Local Government & Transit First Policies
Guiding Principles of Land Use
Flexible Zoning Strategies
Street Design Implementation
Revising Transportation Analysis Practices
Transportation Demand Management
Rethinking Vehicle Parking Requirements
Parking Management
Best Practices to Attract Successful Developers
Clarifying Design Expectations
Integrating Retail into Transit Oriented Development
Community Planning for Rail Transit
Additional Resources
Graphic of the concept layout for Diridon Station
Diridon Station - Preliminary Artist Illustration
Graphic of concept plan for Diridon Station showing where each transportation mode would be focused
Graphic of the future Diridon Station layout