MBTA Bus Maintenance Facilities Resilient Design Guidelines

MBTA bus maintenance facilities serve a critical function for the Greater Boston public transit system. As the MBTA prepares to streamline services and build system resilience, bus maintenance facilities will be modernized to function during current and future conditions under climate change. To ensure that all bus maintenance facilities are designed to meet a consistent level of protection, Weston & Sampson prepared resilient design guidelines as part of a larger multi-disciplinary effort led by Jacobs.

Weston & Sampson developed a resilient framework to guide design teams to collaborate to meet specific performance thresholds given specific design parameters, such as design flood elevation, rainfall depth, and duration of heatwaves. The resilient framework not only considers physical strategies but also includes guidance on operational processes. The resiliency section sets required performance thresholds for climate disruptors, in addition to pandemics in light of current events. The performance thresholds are structured around two main goals:

  • To strengthen and maintain operations and service during extreme weather events by providing redundancy in power supply, roadway/access, bus service, workforce, and critical asset protection through strategies such as flood barriers and dry flood proofing.
  • To quickly respond and recover from extreme weather events through designing with emergency preparedness and operations in mind.

The performance thresholds were developed with ongoing initiatives, such as the Resilient Massachusetts Action Team Web Tool and Standards and Guidelines. However, Weston & Sampson also provided a recommended process on how to set performance thresholds for each bus maintenance facility given the rapid advancement of new climate science and the variability of operations across the facilities.

Working with sustainability, structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire safety, civil/landscaping, and architectural disciplines, Weston & Sampson developed specific climate adaptation strategy recommendations well suited for bus maintenance facilities that can be used by a future designer to meet the performance thresholds. The coordination among disciplines and documentation of the ability of the bus maintenance facility to function will be complex. In response, Weston & Sampson developed user-friendly forms to track and measure performance that will be useful to both the design team and to the MBTA for review purposes.

Project Features:

  • design guidelines
  • climate adaptation strategies
  • documentation support
  • multi-disciplinary coordination


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