Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, land use - planning, ridership - demand, ridership - old people, policy - parking, organisation - regulation, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro


Tri-State Region (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), Strategies, Strategic planning, Regulation, Railroad stations, Railroad commuter service, Rail transit stations, Priorities, Parking lots, Parking demand, Objectives, New York Metropolitan Area, Kiss and ride, Goals, Design, Demographics, Commuter rail, Access


Providing parking for commuter rail passengers can be difficult. Commuter railroads want to accommodate as many riders as possible at their suburban stations, but it is often impossible to provide enough parking to satisfy demand. Railroads would rather not charge a marginal fee for parking because this would likely decrease ridership. Local communities usually oppose large parking structures, and space for additional surface parking is often limited. To alleviate some of the parking demand, a possible strategy is to promote kiss-and-ride, or passenger drop-off. This method of station access requires no parking spaces, yet attracts additional riders. Although commuters accessing stations in this way usually choose to do so because of the particular characteristics of their commute, station and parking lot design might also influence their decision. Commuter rail stations in the New York City metropolitan area were studied to help determine the role of parking lot design and regulation in encouraging or discouraging the use of kiss-and-ride as a station access mode. Stations on the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road were examined relative to their access and parking statistics and also by site visits. The demographics of the areas surrounding the stations were also considered. The results show that parking lot design and regulation may have an effect on kiss-and-ride usage. Parking lots with larger, more-accessible drop-off points tended to have greater kiss-and-ride percentages. Lots with illegal-parking problems, particularly prevalent on Long Island, tended to have lower kiss-and-ride percentages because it was often impossible to find a place to drop someone off.