Sacramento Valley Station plaza overview rendering; Sacramento Valley Station plaza overview rendering;

Sacramento Valley Station Area Plan, Sacramento, California

Pioneering a people-first mobility hub for California’s sustainable transportation future

Sacramento Valley Station, a historic train station in Sacramento, California, is being transformed into a sustainable and community-focused mobility center. Set to become the main hub for transportation in northern California, Sacramento Valley Station is designed as a gateway to the city and a convergence point for all modes of transportation. Plans for the surrounding development feature pedestrian plazas, affordable housing, and a regenerative garden, with an overall focus on community and sustainability.

Working with the City of Sacramento, design firm Perkins&Will, and Grimshaw Architects, Arup helped develop the masterplan of what will be one of the most sustainable public areas in California. Arup brought a wide range of expertise to the project, including civil engineering, transportation planning, sustainability consulting, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering, plumbing, geotechnics, and cost engineering services. In April 2021, the innovative masterplan for Sacramento Valley Station was certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and is the first ever municipality-led project to receive a Living Community Challenge (LCC) Vision Plan certification.


Creating an efficient transportation hub

Sacramento Valley Station is currently northern California’s primary train station and the seventh busiest Amtrak station in the country. While the station hosts many transit providers, it is inefficient in its current operation. The masterplan for the new development at Sacramento Valley Station aims to create an effective mobility hub for the capital of California built around the historic train station. Upon completion, the revived station will bring together regional and local buses, Amtrak, the regional light rail, and extensive direct connections to the city and regional bicycle network. The project plans include an expanded transit center that will include a relocated light rail station, bus center, and future elevated concourse to expand connecting services and ease transitions between all modes of transportation.

Project Summary

22acre mobility and community hub

Net-positiveenergy and water

100%non-potable water needs to be met with recycled water

The Sacramento Valley Station area will be transformed with plazas, retail, dining, office spaces, affordable housing, a hotel, and park area. As a community-focused project, Sacramento Valley Station is designed to prioritize the movement of pedestrians and cyclists. The site plan emphasizes walkability and public transportation over single-occupancy vehicles. Arup contributed transportation planning and masterplanning that aligns with these goals, including implementing bike lanes and prioritizing pedestrian movement throughout the development.

Credit: Steelblue for City of Sacramento / Perkins&Will

Arup also prepared the 30% design of the Bus Mobility Center (BMC), which is being used to procure grant funding to design and build this first construction phase. Working closely with the City and Grimshaw Architects, Arup leveraged our broad bench of services to integrate holistic thinking and multidisciplinary engineering expertise. Our civil, geotechnical, and structural engineering services will deliver the building foundations that will ultimately support the long-span concourse structure over the existing rail tracks.

Net-positive for planet and community

The Sacramento Valley Station area plan was certified as an LCC Vision Plan by ILFI in 2021. The LCC is an ambitious framework and approach to holistic urban development which focuses on net-positive performance and symbiosis between people and the built environment. Key metrics for planning a community include place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity, and beauty. Arup consulted on vital aspects of the site design and contributed sustainability expertise to help Sacramento become the first municipality in the world to achieve the Vision Plan distinction.

Arup’s masterplanning and sustainability consulting expertise are helping pioneer an efficient and resilient urban development that will benefit the City of Sacramento for years to come. ” Matthew Bamm Mathew Bamm Associate

Sacramento Valley Station office plaza rendering Sacramento Valley Station office plaza rendering
Credit: Steelblue for City of Sacramento / Perkins&Will

Green infrastructure and biophilic design

Even as a compact, high-traffic public area, Sacramento Valley Station is designed to accomplish both net-positive energy and net-positive water. Arup’s expertise in sustainability consulting and utility masterplanning contributed to the design of the resilient and regenerative urban development.

To achieve net-positive water, wastewater across the Sacramento Valley Station area will be recycled and delivered back to the buildings to meet all non-potable water demands. Stormwater will be treated and infiltrated using rain gardens located next to buildings and public streets, and a regenerative garden will aid in the water recycling program. By incorporating nature from the surrounding area into the station, the biophilic design will increase community connection to the natural environment. To optimize energy efficiency, a vacuum sewer system has been presented as an option for the development, which would keep pipes shallow, eliminate inflow and infiltration, and deliver wastewater to the treatment plant without reliance on a lift station.

Sacramento Valley Station Regenerative Utility Center (RUC) rendering Sacramento Valley Station Regenerative Utility Center (RUC) rendering
Credit: Steelblue for City of Sacramento / Perkins&Will

Sacramento Valley Station is designed to operate on 100% renewable energy through both on-site power generation and off-site sources. A key feature of the infrastructure design for Sacramento Valley Station is the Regenerative Utility Center, which will house a district energy system and distribute both thermal energy and recycled water to the development. Thermal energy for both the public and private buildings can be harnessed through ground source heat exchange, reducing the overall footprint of heating and cooling systems in the buildings. Arup supported the goal of net-positive energy by conducting microclimate analyses and photovoltaic studies to advise and design an energy efficient system. Arup determined the optimal orientation of the buildings to maximize daylight while also optimizing shade, minimizing the overall cooling and lighting demands for the buildings. For the main transit center, battery storage will allow the space to serve as a resilient hub in the event of an emergency.

We are proud that Arup helped to shape this highly efficient transit-oriented development, which has the first ever municipality-led Living Community Challenge Vision Plan. This transformative project will be not only resilient but regenerative, putting people and planet first. ” Grant McInnes Grant McInnes Associate Principal