Local environmental factors in walking distance at metro stations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - subway/metro, mode - pedestrian, land use - urban design, land use - planning, land use - impacts


Public transport, Metro, Accessibility, Environmental factors


Walking distances to metro stations vary substantially across systems, lines and stations, but few studies have attempted to explain such variable performance. The present study examines commercial land use, intersection density, total road length, distance to the nearest metro station, theoretical catchment area and built form density (FAR) as factors to explain walking distance in a study of 14 metro stations with 43 exits in three cities. These factors explain 7.5% of the variance in walking distance, amounting to a 16% difference in territorial coverage of the station, based on Euclidean extrapolation. In addition, stations with higher levels of patronage tend to have longer walks. Walking distance can be partially explained by the presence of commerce, while intersection density is negatively related to walking distance, in contrast to some indications in the literature. Commercial land use and certain employment areas have a much higher rate of destinations than do residential areas overall. The planning standard for pedestrian catchment zones and FAR are not significant in walking distance, although both are heavily relied upon for planning metros. This study reveals that land use and urban design can be controlled to promote the local use of metro.


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