Planning for Pedestrian Flows in Rail Rapid Transit Stations: Lessons from the State of Current Knowledge and Practice

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, infrastructure - station, mode - rail, mode - pedestrian


transit station designs, rapid rail transit, passenger flow


Decades of research have contributed to the development of standards and models to guide pedestrian-friendly transit station designs, although it is not at all clear from the literature how these tools are collectively used in practice. To address this, we interviewed 15 experts in transit station design. Based on the themes identified in these interviews, we conducted an online census of all 16 transit agencies in North America with rapid rail transit systems with below-grade stations. We found that although standards and codes are most likely to guide design decisions, the three types of tools (published standards, deterministic models, and microsimulation models) are as likely to complement as substitute for one another. We recommend that such analytical models of passenger flow should consider explicitly how practitioners employ them in practice to better link future refinements to the more “pedestrian” world of engineering and design practice.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by National Center for Transit Research, University of South Florida, copyright remains with them.