Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, land use - impacts, place - europe, place - airport, mode - rail


Rail transit stations, Europe, Economic impacts, Cost benefit analysis, Case studies, Benefit cost analysis, Airports, Aerodromes


The effects of rail stations, including high-speed rail, at airports in Europe are discussed in terms of a cost-benefit framework. Rail stations are operational at many European airports and are at the center of interest when road access relief at airports is considered, as well as when rail and air transport complementarity is considered. As public budget deficits are under more scrutiny than in the past and privatization of state-owned public transport companies is being considered, it is of interest to know the extent to which rail stations at airports improve the performance of the rail companies and have a positive impact on the economy as a whole (are of value to taxpayers). The study is based on a cost-benefit analysis of rail stations at five major airports (Brussels, Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris-Orly, and Paris-Charles de Gaulle) and two medium-sized airports (Geneva and Stuttgart). The results of case studies of several rail stations (those in Belgium, France, Germany, and Switzerland), which had wide spectra of technology and operating system backgrounds, showed that the overall effects of rail stations, by taking into account investment costs and the partial effects on the railways, were positive for the major (hub) airports analyzed [except in particular cases for particular reasons (Brussels and Paris-Orly)] but were balanced or negative for the medium-sized airports analyzed. The results show not only the impact of airport size but also that of distance to the airport by rail, because the benefit to users in terms of time and fare savings played a significant role and highlighted the benefits of having access to a rail network as much as possible. Finally, the effects on public transport as a whole (i.e., the effects on all public transport companies at the airport, including taxi and parking operators) were negative.