Chris A. Hale

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - interchange/transfer, infrastructure - station, land use - smart growth, land use - transit oriented development, land use - urban design, mode - bike, mode - bus, mode - mass transit, mode - park and ride, mode - pedestrian, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, place - urban, planning - network design, policy - parking, policy - sustainable


station access, rail station, urban design, transport planning


Significant attention is invariably focused on the line-haul aspects of mass transit networks, but the question of how passengers get to a station tends to be under-resourced and under-researched. With station access comprising a substantial component of the overall journey involving transit, improvements to access infrastructure and amenity should flow through into increased ridership, or improved travel experiences.

Station access, to state the obvious, is invariably by walking, cycling, feeder transit - or by car-based means. The facilitation of more robust access by feeder transit would demand strong design, station configuration, and network planning approaches. The delivery of better conditions for walking and cycling also demands a particular set of design, planning and infrastructure treatments. Some networks are actively prioritising the more sustainable of these modes in actual infrastructure and design decisions, while others mainly emphasise sustainable access rhetorically - in planning documentation perhaps.

In this paper, we analyse and compare station access figures in a selection of major transit networks from the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia. The analysis provides clear figures to contextualise an intuitive understanding – namely, that different urban rail networks depend on different access modes overall, and on specific modes in greater and lesser degrees at particular locations. Empirical analysis of observed station access patterns across the case study networks forms the primary research method, but these observed outcomes are cross-referenced to planning documentation and context of local transit stakeholders.

The paper charts the conditions, methods and measures that might support increasing levels of access by the more sustainable, more cost-effective modes of station access into the future.