Fairfax County West Ox Bus Operations Center

West Ox Facility interior

Fairfax County West Ox Bus Operations Center

Phase I & II and West Ox Road Complex Master Plan

Contemporary bus operations and maintenance facilities not only serve as places to park, service and maintain vehicles. Owners and managers need efficient, cost-effective operations; mechanics depend on safe and productive workplaces; drivers benefit from engaging environments before and after their work shifts; transit users require transportation they can count on; and residents want reliable services and facilities that enhance their communities. Virginia’s Fairfax County needed a new, modern bus operations and maintenance center that would incorporate all of these elements, but with an extra twist: also function as one of the few centers shared by two transit agencies in North America.

Fairfax County operates its Fairfax Connector bus service in the County and its surrounding areas and in coordination with the service provided by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in Northern Virginia and Washington, District of Columbia. The client wanted to build a state-of-the-art West Ox Bus Operations Center in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC that would accommodate the unique operational approaches, fleets and staffing of these two separate transit agencies.

Two-Phase Development

In 2008, Fairfax County selected us as an integral member of a multi-disciplined design team to provide incremental site development programming and planning for their new 350-bus operations and maintenance center at the West Ox campus, and assist with the design and $32.3 million construction of Phase 1’s 150-bus facility. In 2012, the client selected our team for the $10.5 million Phase II expansion of the project to 300 buses belonging to both Fairfax Connector and WMATA. This expansion to the center was completed in 2017. We provided the space needs programming, assisted with master planning, concept design and design criteria, and provided equipment industrial design and construction administration for all phases of the project.

The center was designed to minimize the need for bus operators to cross into bus circulation routes as they access bus storage areas. The service facility (fuel and wash) is located near the maintenance facility, providing for some sharing of facilities due to proximity, yet far enough from the entrance to the maintenance bays to avoid a mix of bus traffic using these different services. The fully-completed maintenance facility features 26 maintenance bays and a paint and body shop. The administration and operations section provides modern office and operator support areas. 

During Phase I, Fairfax Connector and WMATA shared operations, maintenance and service facilities. For example, both transit agencies agreed to share maintenance bays. However, the design provided for separate parts areas, each with individual vertical lift modules (VLMs) high-density storage systems for each transit agency due to control and security concerns, and the fact that the two agencies have vastly different transit missions. Both agencies’ VLMs saved space and offered security, separation and future flexibility.  

During Phase II, WMATA and Fairfax Connector vehicle maintenance operations were divided into two separate wings of the maintenance facility, providing greater autonomy and flexibility for each agency. The existing maintenance building was expanded to provide nine more bus maintenance bays along with an additional chassis wash, parts room, and related maintenance support spaces including offices, locker rooms and break area. The operations-area addition expanded the locker- and drivers-room areas for both agencies. An additional bus wash was added to the service building. 

Master Planning Services

Fairfax County also selected our team in 2009 to master plan the entire West Ox 250-acre campus for development. The West Ox Road Complex Master Plan was initiated by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Planning and Design Division to respond to County needs for new public service facilities. These service facilities included vehicle maintenance, public safety and administration facilities such as the Public Safety Operations Center/Forensics Lab. Current needs were to be combined with the existing uses found on the West Ox Road Complex, with the goal to consolidate similar Fairfax County operations/maintenance centers into one primary center for multiple groups. 

Overall, the client appreciated our reputation and leadership within the transit industry for designing innovative and sustainable maintenance and operations facilities, along with our collaborative, consensus-building approach with clients and users to achieve safe, efficient and functional facilities tailored to their needs. The award-winning West Ox Bus Operations Center includes numerous sustainable design features, a high-quality working environment in all areas, natural lighting plus lighting controls, and a demonstration green roof. The facility also achieved LEED Gold certification in both Phases I and II.

By the Numbers


  • 30.7 acres


  • 93,220 sf total


  • Administration & Operations Building:  13,600 sf
  • Vehicle Maintenance Building:  36,300 sf
  • Service Building (fuel, wash & detail clean bays):  16,100 sf


  • Building Expansions:  27,220 sf
West Ox Facility interior


Project of the Year Award (2009)
$25 to $70 Million, Structures Category
American Public Works Association, Mid-Atlantic Chapter
Honorable Mention Award (2009)
Fairfax County Exceptional Design Awards
Fairfax County, Virginia
Capital Construction Award of Excellence (2008)
Fairfax County Department of Public Works & Environmental Services