Classifying railway stations for strategic transport and land use planning: Context matters!

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

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


Railway station, Comparability, Classification, Functional requirements, Context, Environment


The classification of railway stations is a potentially powerful tool for strategic transport and land use planning. Existing classifications rely strongly on the indicator “passenger frequency”, which focuses on transport related issues, blending performance with preconditions at a given site. We argue that a classification system for strategic planning should focus on the demands and conditions of the site within which the railway station must function, i.e. system context. Here, we present such a classification system: a cluster analysis of the 1700 Swiss railway stations relying solely on context factors. The resulting classes vary primarily in density (of land use and transport services) and use (commuting, leisure time, tourism). Common geographic patterns and class-specific dynamics are discernable. These results indicate that classification based on the relevant demands and conditions given by context leads to clearly interpretable classes and supports multi-perspective strategic planning for railway stations. The systematic approach allows for a better understanding of the interrelations between railway stations and their context.


Permission to publish the abstract given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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