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The Case of Miami’s Metrorail South

“The city of Miami has always been modern. Born of the railroad and fed by the airlines, it was shaped by transportation systems that linked the city to distant destinations while dividing local districts. Perhaps as a result . . . the city has long been divided into interdependent, yet spatially distinct cities.” – Gray Read, 2019


Mobility-Oriented Design (MOD): The Case of Miami Metrorail investigates the multiple facets of public transit in Miami-Dade County and its effects on the urban fabric. Broadly, this design research project seeks to understand how public transit operates within the county and why it has historically underperformed. MOD focuses on Miami Metrorail as a case study and identifies and analyzes the specific parameters that have guided transportation and development within the city’s emergent transit corridor along U.S. Highway 1.


This research project synthesizes multiple perspectives and analytical frameworks to present the historical and contemporary factors that contribute to Miami Metrorail’s low ridership and poor accessibility. It pays particular attention to the influence of public opinion, the day-to-day experience of riders, and the relationship between the transit system and its surrounding urban context. A close analysis of these factors and an investigation of correlated prospects and issue areas informs several design scenarios that are intended to visualize and project future options and investment alternatives. Ultimately, this project proposes a menu of recommendations at a variety of scales that are meant to inform decision-making around reinvigorating Metrorail’s existing infrastructure, facilitating ridership, promoting higher-density living, and improving the rail’s integration into the urban fabric.

Project Team: Mohsen Mostafavi (PI), Charles Waldheim (co-PI), Jesse Keenan (co-PI), Jessy Yang, Aziz Barbar, Daniel Quesada Lombó, Charlie Gaillard, Mercedes Peralta, Tommy Hill, Sofia Xanthakou, and Fletcher Phillips.

Partners: Michael Rock / 2 × 4, and Eric Rodenbeck / Stamen.

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