Reston is an internationally known planned community whose goal was to revolutionize post-World War II concepts of land use and residential/corporate development in American suburbia. Reston is an unincorporated census-designated place located in western Fairfax County, Virginia in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Reston experienced increasing traffic congestion as it grew in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was a time when Reston's population was growing but the Dulles Toll Road had not been built. Commuter traffic between Reston and Washington created serious traffic congestion on the roads that connected Reston to Washington DC. In 1984 the toll road opened and in 1986 the West Falls Church Washington Metro station opened. Most recently the Fairfax County Parkway, a major north-south artery, was opened.
Reston is one of just a handful of communities in the U.S. that has been designated a backyard wildlife habitat community. Usually this designation is for single homes.
Reston has grown to a point where it now fits the definition of an edge city. While Reston takes on the statistical properties of an edge city, its tightly controlled design averted several problems they typically face, such as hostile pedestrian situations and lack of mass transit. Many of the homes in Reston were designed to be medium density, which again is atypical of an edge city. In other ways it is a textbook example, with a majority of medium rise office buildings, and some citizens opposed to the expansion of its high density core.
Reston straddles the Dulles Technology Corridor and is home to the headquarters of three Fortune 500 corporations of 12 in the Washington, D.C. area: (NVR, Sprint Nextel, and Sallie Mae). It is also home to the United States Geological Survey, the National Wildlife Federation, and CNRI.
Of the 20 largest venture capital firms in the D.C. area, five are in Reston. The amount of capital under management of the Reston firms, $6.9 billion, represents 53% of those top 20 regional venture capital firms.
Reston is a 10-minute drive from Tyson’s Corner and the Capital Beltway to the east, and Washington Dulles International Airport to the west. Reston has four local exits on the Dulles Toll Road. Direct access to and from the airport is free.
The Dulles Toll Road splits the community along a west-to-east axis, while several roads run north-south: Fairfax County Parkway on the western side, Reston Parkway through the center of town, Wiehle Avenue through the northeastern residential section, and Hunter Mill Road on the eastern border.
Office space in Reston is primarily located along two roads running east-west on either side of the Dulles Toll Road, Sunrise Valley Drive to the south and Sunset Hills Road to the north.
When Metrorail is extended to Dulles Airport along the right-of-way in the middle of the Dulles Toll Road, two stations will be located in Reston. The first will be near the Wiehle Avenue/Dulles Toll Road interchange (phase one) and the second will be at the Reston Parkway/Dulles Toll Road interchange (phase two). A third station will straddle the Herndon/Reston border at the existing Herndon Monroe transit hub. Fairfax County provides several commuter express buses from free park-and-ride lots to the West Falls Church Metrorail station.
Reston is located at 38°57′16″N, 77°20′47″W
According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 17.4 square miles (45.0 km²), of which, 17.1 square miles (44.4 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (1.21%) is water. Reston contains four artificial lakes: Lake Anne, Lake Audubon, Lake Newport, and Lake Thoreau. Another artificial lake, Lake Fairfax, is only partially on Reston property, but is technically Fairfax County park land.
Located in Northern Virginia near Washington Dulles International Airport, the Dulles Technology Corridor, dubbed the "Netplex" in 1993 by Fortune magazine, contains the "vital electronic pathways that carry more than half of all traffic on the Internet. The region is home to more telecom and satellite companies than any other place on earth."
The corridor generally follows Virginia State Route 267, the Dulles Access Road, between Loudoun and Fairfax counties, which are the highest and second-highest income counties in the U.S. as of 2006, coinciding with the national technology and local internet boom of the 1990s and local technology spending after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The region contains the Internet Society, and used to contain the mainframe that houses the master list of all Internet domain names.