Do cities deserve more railway stations? The choice of a departure railway station in a multiple-station region

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - europe, place - urban, planning - network design, planning - surveys


Number of railway stations, Access to rail stations, Railway planning, Integrated planning, Logsum approach


Promoting the use of rail is an important element in sustainable transport policy. One of the most important decisions to make in planning the railway network is on the number of stations to provide. Stations are the access points to rail services and while each additional station increases rail’s accessibility it also slows the service for those not using a particular station thereby making rail less attractive. In most large cities there are several, often many, railway stations, and understanding how passengers choose a departure station is important for planning the number of railway stations in a particular urban region and for understanding how the urban transport network provides access to different stations. Using the Dutch Railways (NS) customer satisfaction survey, a discrete choice analysis is carried out of the choice of a departure station, out of 11 available, by passengers living in the Amsterdam region. The results confirm the importance of the access journey to the station in determining the overall (dis)utility from travelling by rail. The welfare effect of closing a station in the Amsterdam area is computed by using the logsum approach, leading to the conclusion that it would not be beneficial to reduce the number of stations in Amsterdam. This suggests that increasing the number of stations where trains stop may well be welfare improving for the Amsterdam region. The paper concludes by advocating for an integrated analysis of rail and local public transport services, and for an integrated planning of inter-city rail and urban public transport networks, with focus on the number of rail stations within the urban area.


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


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