A GIS-based appraisal framework for new local railway stations and services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, infrastructure - station, economics - benefits, economics - capital costs, ridership - forecasting


Railway station, Appraisal, Demand modelling, Catchment, Abstraction


This paper describes the development of an integrated appraisal procedure for new local railway stations. The procedure is not intended to act as a ‘solid state’ set of guidelines, but instead to provide a framework containing current best practice, within which individual elements can be updated and enhanced as new evidence becomes available without affecting the rest of the methodology. The framework includes a number of different elements, which are brought together in an appraisal spreadsheet but which can be altered without affecting other sections of the procedure. First, the best locations for new stations within the study area are chosen, with potential sites selected, catchments defined, infrastructure capacity assessed and potential service patterns planned. Usage at the potential stations is predicted using trip end and flow level demand models, and the extent of abstraction from neighbouring stations is considered. The benefits and costs of constructing the stations are then estimated, including direct financial gains and losses as well as wider economic impacts and social costs and benefits. Finally, these are brought together to calculate financial and social net present values and benefit–cost ratios, with break-even demand levels for new stations also provided. The framework provides a consistent means of estimating the costs and benefits of the large number of schemes for new local railway stations in the UK, and use of a standardised methodology allows those schemes with the best case for construction to be prioritised. Since rail privatisation in the mid-1990s the costs of new stations have escalated dramatically, meaning that stations have to demonstrate much greater revenue-earning potential than was previously the case to justify construction. By providing more accurate forecasts and thus reducing uncertainty over scheme costs and benefits, this appraisal procedure can help to ensure that the best return is obtained on the limited investment funds which are available.


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


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