Richardson and UT Dallas receive prestigious urban design award for transit-oriented development master plan

Master Plan Shows Potential for Future Development on Cotton Belt Rail Line at North End of UT Dallas Campus


(Richardson, TX) - The City of Richardson and UT Dallas were honored by the Greater Dallas Planning Council (GDPC) at the annual Urban Design Awards event on Dec. 5. The two entities received a Dream Study Award for their UT Dallas North Campus Transit-Oriented Development master plan, which creates a framework for potential development near the proposed UT Dallas DART Station along the Cotton Belt Rail Line, at the north end of the university campus. The GDPC recognizes organizations and municipalities that are working to build a sustainable future for the Dallas region.  


“Richardson is honored to work with great partners, like UT Dallas, that recognize the importance of collaborating for the benefit of the city and its residents,” said Richardson Mayor Bob Townsend. “We are excited to receive this recognition from the Greater Dallas Planning Council, which underscores our dedication to sustainability and regional leadership efforts.”


The Dream Study Award recognizes an unbuilt project that displays sustainability efforts in the planning process. The GDPC, established in 1946, presented the annual awards at the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in the Dallas Arts District on Wednesday, Dec. 5.


“We want our faculty, staff and students to be connected to the community, and this visionary master plan outlines that eloquently,” said Vice President for Administration Dr. Calvin Jamison. “The University is growing in size and students, and this exciting development would be a welcome addition to our campus and community life.”


The UT Dallas North Campus Transit-Oriented Development master plan was initiated in the fall of 2008 when the City of Richardson, UT Dallas and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) decided to collaborate to plan a transit-oriented development (TOD) near the proposed UT Dallas DART Station and campus. With the help of Jacobs Engineering Group and Ragsdale Consulting, which specializes in traffic engineering, the team conducted an extensive study and developed the proposed master plan.


The site included in the master plan, the UT Dallas North Campus, is located north of the existing academic facilities along the Cotton Belt rail corridor, which is owned by DART. Passenger service on the Cotton Belt is included in DART’s 2030 system plan, and the Regional Transportation Council of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is currently working to advance that timeframe dramatically through its Innovative Finance Initiative.


The proposed UT Dallas Station would link the campus to DFW International Airport and function as the focal point for the new pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use environment. Proposed land uses for the site include campus-related residential and retail, office, research and development facilities, an event center, a hotel, a park, other residential housing and public open spaces. A university-related office/research campus is also planned just outside the primary TOD area.


The master plan, which was completed in 2009, includes a variety of sustainability elements that are consistent with the guidelines of the NCTCOG Development Excellence program. NCTCOG’s ten sustainability elements that were considered in the master plan include: development options; efficient growth; pedestrian design; housing choice; activity centers; environmental stewardship; quality places; transportation efficiency; resource efficiency; and implementation.


Additionally, the design team was challenged with designing for the future since the project might not be developed for 10 to 20 years. Advancements in technology and materials can have a major impact on planning, but the team was able to incorporate research on future trends into their plans. The project would include elements such as new low-cost energy solutions, waste management advancements, nanotechnology and information technology developments. 

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