Would the replacement of park-and-ride facilities with transit-oriented development reduce vehicle kilometers traveled in an auto-oriented US region?


Michael Duncan

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - car, mode - rail, mode - park and ride, mode - tram/light rail, land use - transit oriented development, planning - surveys


Park-and-ride, Transit-oriented development, Vehicle kilometers traveled


One often sees large park-and-ride (P&R) facilities surrounding major transit stations. These parking facilities provide a practical way to increase ridership, but it is less clear how well they serve broader sustainability goals. For example, using scarce station area land for transit-oriented development (TOD) rather than parking may provide a better approach to reducing vehicle kilometers travelled (VKT). This research represents an effort to explore the relative VKT reduction associated with P&R as compared to TOD. A survey of transit users in Charlotte, NC is used to estimate the VKT generated by users of P&R facilities at light rail stations. The estimated VKT is then compared to the VKT that is predicted to occur under hypothetical scenarios in which these parking facilities are replaced with TOD. At four of the seven stations examined in this study, replacing a P&R facility with a moderately dense housing (100 units per hectare) is predicted to result in a net VKT reduction. On the other hand, there is no feasible scenario in which a net VKT reduction can be achieved by replacing the suburban terminal parking structure with TOD. To the degree that VKT reduction is an important outcome of transit provision, the results of this research indicate that conversion of P&R to TOD (or forgoing P&R in the first place) should receive strong consideration at some stations, even in highly auto-oriented contexts such as Charlotte.


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


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