For 14 years, Movares made an important contribution to the creation of the new Utrecht Public Transport Terminal. The terminal lies in the centre of the Netherlands and brings all the public transport modes together under one roof – train, bus and tram. It combines these transport streams with good accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transport. The terminal is now ready to fulfil its role as the central transport hub of the Netherlands.


Prime domain(s)
Rail, Mobility, Planning


Prime theme(s)
Urban mobility hubs


Additional theme(s)
Users & Services, Design & Identity


Related showcases
RandstadRail, Holland Metropolis, Rotterdam Centraal, Arnhem Station, Spoorbeeld, Image of Rail (Spoorbeeld), Public Transport Smart Card


Lead partner
ProRail & Movares


Second contact
Benthem Crouwel Architects (BCA)


Extended summary

Movares has been involved in the engineering aspects of the Utrecht Public Transport Terminal right from the outset. Located in the heart of Utrecht, home to the busiest station in the Netherlands, the new terminal has the capacity to handle the 100 million passengers expected to pass through Utrecht annually by around 2030.

Working in close cooperation with Benthem Crouwel Architects (BCA), Movares produced all the designs: structural, architectural, installations and integration In addition to the installations related to passenger movements, such as lighting, sprinklers, fire alarms and CCTV surveillance, Movares designed the installations for shops and catering outlets. Planning and phasing were worked out jointly, building costs were calculated, specifications formulated and contracts drawn up. Movares also assisted the customer (infrastructure provider ProRail) during the building process. Over a 14-year period, hundreds of Movares professionals made an important contribution to creating the Utrecht Public Transport Terminal and its surroundings.

Everything had to carry on functioning normally during construction – it had to be “business as usual”. The challenge was to ensure that passengers could move around safely, that emergency escape routes remained open and that the passenger experience remained as good as possible. Construction of the rebuilt and expanded station was divided into six phases, which were drawn up in conjunction with Movares. One requirement was to minimize the need for temporary passenger facilities. Movares has personnel who can monitor safety, we carried out day-to-day supervision of the site, we provided the design engineers and, along with BCA, we provided architects. The final result is a station that incorporates both architectural elements and sustainability, with LED lighting, geothermal installations and solar panels on the canopies.

Text: Movares


Form (description)
The customer wanted a beautiful, spacious, accessible station that would be ready for the future. By 2030, 100 million passengers will be using the terminal every year. The station was to incorporate architectural features, sustainability and all the supporting structure, including foundations and everything else built of concrete. And throughout the construction process, the station was to remain open.

Movares’ concrete structures team designed everything that was to be made of concrete – the foundations and the supporting structure for the floor. The same Movares team produced all the working drawings, with detailing for the various components.

In addition to producing the technical design of the foundations and supporting structure, Movares wrote all the specifications, a task usually left to the contractors. This meant that the structural implementation of all specifications was under one roof. In turn, this created the basis for a final design that could serve as the basis for clear agreements with third parties, such as contractors.

One advantage of Movares’ integrated approach was that it was possible to react faster and more effectively to the many changes that occurred during construction, such as integrating the new Stadskantoor, the public offices of the city council. This was one of the factors that made it possible to avoid delays, which is unusual in a project of this size and complexity.

The project was notable for its exceptionally long duration, its size, its complexity and the large number of stakeholders.

Movares’ approach to fire safety was one of the unusual technical features. The surface area of the station concourse is such that it was impossible to compartmentalize it as required by fire safety legislation, and a different solution had to be adopted.

Operation (usage)
88 million people pass through Utrecht Centraal every year. That number is on the increase, and is expected to rise to 100 million by 2030. In this public transport terminal, train bus and tram come together seamlessly. It offers the biggest bike park in the world, helping to make public transport even more attractive. The station concourse now connects the eastern and western sides of the city via attractive entrances on each side, with a walkway on the outside of the building.

The biggest station in the Netherlands plays a connecting role, both literally and figuratively. For the city of Utrecht, Utrecht Centraal forms the hub of the expanded centre, where a new urban lifestyle is emerging. Maintaining accessibility in an area where so much is changing will continue to require attention.

Performance (result)
With this new public transport terminal, Utrecht Centraal can continue to function as the Netherlands’ transportation hub. The biggest station in the Netherlands plays a connecting role, both literally and figuratively.

It now incorporates both architectural features and sustainability, with LED lighting, geothermal installations and solar panels on the canopies.




History of the project

2003: After years of talks and negotiations, Utrecht City Council and central government have reached agreement on the new Utrecht Public Transport Terminal, which will bring train, bus and trams under one roof and will link the eastern and western sides of Utrecht. ProRail is to be the project manager. Engineering services are put out to tender, and consulting engineers Movares are selected to provide engineering services for everything from the preliminary design to site supervision, working with Benthem Crouwel Architects. In 2007, following completion of the final design, ProRail and Utrecht City Council sign the project agreement, which allocates tasks, budgets and risks. A joint implementation organization is set up. The joint implementation organization nominates ProRail to act as customer. The designs are translated into specifications, planning permission is obtained and contractors are appointed. At the end of 2010, Besix Nederland can start work.

Construction takes six years. The station is rebuilt in a number of phases, so as to inconvenience the unstoppable daily flow of passengers as little as possible. The preliminary design is drawn up in 2003, the final design in 2005, the specifications (written in accordance with the Dutch STABU standard) are produced in 2009 and construction begins in January 2011.  It is now 2016. The building was handed over in November and the station concourse officially reopened in December. It includes a broad canopy, a view of the entirely rebuilt railway tracks and sidings to the south, and on the north side an atrium with cafés and restaurants. Bus stops and train platforms are located under the concourse, and share a common design. The tram to the Uithof (where Utrecht Hospital and most university buildings are located) will run from the same area.  In 2017, some 280,000 passengers will use Utrecht Centraal every day, and this will only increase in the years to come. …………..

Special features

Maintaining “business as usual” during construction work on the busiest station in the Netherlands, not just for transport operations but also for the shops, cafés and restaurants. This was a major operational and logistical challenge. Working in conjunction with ProRail and the contractors, Movares was able to meet this challenge.

Doing so required smart, detailed phasing of the work. Construction of the rebuilt and expanded station was divided into six phases. One requirement was to minimize the need for temporary passenger facilities. In total, the project lasted 14 years, with the intensity of activity varying over this period.

The project was made even more complex by changes to specifications after work had started. Two of those changes were especially notable. The first was the inclusion of the new Stadskantoor (the public offices of Utrecht City Council) as part of the terminal. The second was a change in the design of the shops. This meant modifying the design of all their secondary installations (ventilation, water, etc.). That was contracted out separately by the Dutch railways and a plug-and-play concept was adopted.

The roof of the public transport terminal replaces the three canopies of the railway and bus stations. The new steel structure is curved lengthwise and crosswise, with a maximum internal height of 17 metres. The entire structure rests on the existing double-tee girders. The “old” floor and supporting structure were used, extending them where necessary. The concourse floor has been extended to 246 m x 91 m and covers the train platforms, the bus bays (which have been moved) and the future tram platforms. Re-use of existing elements contributes to the sustainability of the new and modified structures.

The new platform canopies use cold-bendable glass with integrated solar cells that power the platform lighting, escalators, etc.

The glass walls of the terminal are suspened from the edges of the roof like curtains. The connections, the transitions and the links to shops, etc., are also unusual.


Station Centraal, 2010 – Link to Google books


Kuala Lumpur Sentral (Malaysia), Melbourne Central (Australia), Den Haag Centraal (Netherlands)


Foreign potentials
Station and main station projects in Europe and Asia (on the long run in America too).


Related projects and pilots
Central Station Tbilisi (Georgia), Main station Kaohsiung (Taiwan)


Other media
In preparation by DRS.
Image credits
Movares RVDB Urban Planning


Utrecht Public Transport Terminal