San Diego Intermodal Program

Project Summary


The Intermodal Division of the Regional Transportation Technology Alliance

is proposing development of the San Diego Intermodal Program (SDIP), a

series of three projects designed to stimulate and improve the San Diego

economy. All three of these projects are transportation related.

Transportation, the movement of people and goods, is the lifeblood of an

economy. The improvement of the San Diego transportation network is vital

to strong and vigorous growth of the region's economy. This Project Summary

describes all three components of the SDIP proposal. The first is

TransCity, the San Diego Intermodal Center, a transportation hub that allows

interchange between San Diego's major transportation modes. The second

project is the University City Shuttle, which is an automated people mover

(APM) connecting activity centers in the University City area. The third

project is the Golden Triangle Express, a high speed APM linking TransCity

to University City.


TransCity is an intermodal facility linking key Downtown activity centers

with the region's major transportation facilities, including San Diego

International Airport, the Santa Fe Depot, the MTDB Trolley System, bus

terminals, taxis and automobile parking. The purpose of TransCity is to

provide a central transfer point for trips involving regional transit,

intercity bus service, local taxi and shuttle service and private

automobiles. TransCity would also become an extension of San Diego

International Airport, incorporating selected landside facilities including,

but not limited to, parking. TransCity will be located somewhere between

Downtown and the area just to the northeast of San Diego International

Airport. To leverage its location as a transportation hub, retail and

entertainment development will be incorporated into TransCity, with the

commercial development revenues supporting the development of the

transportation infrastructure. Connecting the TransCity complex to Downtown

activity centers and the San Diego International Airport will be an

automated people mover (APM) shuttle system. The APM Shuttle uses

four-passenger cars operating on a network of elevated guideways to

transport passengers nonstop within a local area. The budgeted cost of the

APM is $150 million. Budgeted costs for the TransCity complex are $50

million for transportation infrastructure development, and up to $500

million in commercial development.


The University City Shuttle is an automated people mover (APM), linking

activity centers throughout the University City commercial center. Activity

centers include the University Towne Centre shopping center, La Jolla

Village Towne Square, the University of California San Diego campus and

nearby major office buildings and hotels. The Shuttle uses personal-size,

four-passenger vehicles to provide private, nonstop transportation to

passengers. The budgeted cost of the APM is $150 million. This APM will be

like the one serving TransCity. Both APMs will have cars equipped with

multimedia consoles to provide information and entertainment to passengers.

The University City Shuttle will allow people traveling within the

commercial center convenient connections to shops, restaurants, offices,

hotels and the UCSD campus. It will also provide a quick and convenient

connection to Downtown San Diego, via the Golden Triangle Express.


The Golden Triangle Express is a high speed automated people mover (APM)

that will shuttle passengers and freight between the TransCity San Diego

Multimodal Center and University City in less than six minutes. The Express

provides a quick link between two of the region's major commercial centers.

It provides San Diego North City residents and employees with an additional

travel mode option for connections to the Airport and Downtown, and

connections to the South Bay and East County via the MTDB light-rail system.

The high speed APM is budgeted at $200 million. It anticipates using

state-of-the-art magnetic propulsion technology to carry passengers at

speeds up to 180 miles per hour. Besides serving local transportation uses,

it will also provide a demonstration of the feasibility of intra-urban high

speed travel, cementing San Diego's role as a leader in transportation



The implementation of TransCity, the University City Shuttle and the Golden

Triangle Express will require a partnership with major commercial property

owners, the City of San Diego, the San Diego Unified Port District, and the

California Department of Transportation. SDIP's funding strategy is to

attract private sector investment financing for all projects. This can be

accomplished if the project yields sufficient rewards for those private

entities making this investment. Properly structured, all three projects

are expected to be financially self-sustaining. To provide a guarantee to

bond holders investing in the project, it will likely be necessary to create

special service districts to provide supplemental revenue. Assessments

applied to commercial properties will fund any shortfalls in transportation

revenues required to make bond repayments. The challenge is to structure

SDIP so that even if a maximum assessment is required, the financial rewards

to the assessed properties are sufficient to warrant that investment.

Surpluses generated by transportation revenues will be distributed to the

properties supporting the program.


Private property owners in the SDIP service area will experience significant

economic benefits. The primary benefits result from increased traffic

through commercial developments connected to SDIP. Higher retail sales and

higher office lease rates translate in additional real property revenues and

higher real property values. The increased traffic occurs for several

reasons. The first is that the presence of a new transportation

infrastructure traditionally induces new transportation demand. This new

demand will benefit those commercial areas served by the APM the most. The

second is the entertainment value of the APM, drawing people into the

commercial center that might otherwise shop or work at home, via their

computer. Shopping centers that have incorporated entertainment have

already experienced sharply increased sales. The third reason for increased

traffic will be that property owners can create better landscaped outdoor

areas once they have reduced their parking requirements. Experience shows

that people are more attracted to pedestrian scale outdoor areas, than large

automobile parking lots. Property owners will also benefit from the receipt

of commercial development rights, such as increased density allowances.

Increased densities will allow property owners to better use the land they

own, converting surplus parking areas into revenue generating commercial space.


The San Diego Intermodal Program benefits the public in several ways. The

most immediate benefit is the greater flexibility afforded to people

traveling in the SDIP service area. TransCity will improve their ability to

make connections to modes serving their destinations. The APM shuttles will

ease transportation in normally congested commercial centers. The Golden

Triangle Express will speed transportation between two major San Diego

commercial centers along a heavily traveled corridor. Another important

benefit is the reduced demand on public highways and roads. This will ease

congestion, reduce air pollution emissions and reduce traffic accident

incidents. The reduced use of roads will also lower the public funds

required to maintain and repair roads. One of the most important public

benefits will be an expansion of the tax base, as economic activity

increases and property values escalate.


The San Diego Intermodal Program is proposed as a program to help establish

the Center for Transportation Innovation (CTI). CTI's role will be that of

Program Director, responsible for coordinating and managing the contracts

and activities required to complete the Program. The SDIP will provide CTI

with a large amount of exposure, and a steady source of funding during its

initial years. The primary private sector proponent of the SDIP is

LandEagle Development, a transportation development company whose principals

have program management experience on programs ranging up to $1.5 billion.


The first phase is to write the Project Plan. Commercial sponsors seeking

to leverage the large amount of publicity that will accompany the TransCity

proposal are expected to help underwrite the $325,000 Project Plan budget.

The Project Plan will require six months to complete. The second phase of

the program is to identify and secure Project Funding. Each of the three

components of the SDIP will be funded separately. The third phase is

project Engineering and Approvals. This critical phase will require twelve

months, assuming a streamlined approval process. The final phase is

Fabrication and Construction. A fast track construction management approach

will allow this phase to be completed in eighteen months.


The San Diego Intermodal Program is still just an idea. But it is an idea

that can strengthen San Diego's economy, by strengthening the transportation

connections between home, work and play. The Regional Transportation

Technology Alliance can support San Diego transportation companies and

customers alike by first shaping, and then supporting the San Diego

Intermodal Program vision until it becomes reality.

For more details about this program, contact Tom Richert. See the ATRA home page for his phone and fax numbers. His e-mail address is

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Last modified: April 24, 1996