Characterizing metro stations via urban function: Thematic evidence from transit-oriented development (TOD) in Hong Kong

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - subway/metro, land use - transit oriented development, land use - impacts, infrastructure - station, policy - sustainable


Urban function, Human activity, Transit-oriented development (TOD), Catchment area, And built environment


The strategies using transit-oriented development (TOD) to optimize transportation sustainability have been implemented in many metropolitan areas and extended beyond the role of exclusively offering transit services. Research findings from existing literature have largely shown that metro station catchment areas can attract a substantial number of urban functions and human activities that lead metro stations to be vital and vibrant places of urban daily life. In this work, we propose a data-driven semantic framework to characterize metro stations through points of interest (POIs) in Hong Kong. The analytical results reveal four thematic topics of urban functions that are closely related to commercial, residential, tourism, and industrial activities. Given the implementation of a hierarchical clustering approach on these thematic topics, the similarities among different stations are investigated. In particular, metro stations in the same thematic group tend to be spatially concentrated, suggesting an evident geographical proximity relating to similar urban functions. Plus, results from the Multinomial Logit Model (MNLM) confirm that the surrounding built environment of metro stations has close relationships with the heterogeneity of urban functions. Ultimately, this study introduces alternative insights into the urban functional heterogeneity exhibited by metro station areas, and the practical implications for more targeted TOD strategies are discussed.


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


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