The wider barrier effects of public transport infrastructure: The case of level crossings in Melbourne

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, place - urban, infrastructure - track, land use - impacts, land use - planning


Barrier effects, Community severance, Urban renewal, Level crossing removal, Land use changes, Transport infrastructure, Wider urban development effects


As an enabler of land use changes, transport infrastructure has been widely documented in the literature. However, literature regarding transport infrastructure as a barrier of land use changes is relatively scarce – a phenomenon referred to as the barrier effects or community severance. This understanding is important to estimate the true effects of removing such barriers through policy interventions. This study aims to address this gap in the literature using road-rail level crossings as a source of community severance in Melbourne. A total of 13 case sites were selected where such barriers were removed through infrastructure renewal (e.g., sky rail or bridges and tunnels) in an ongoing policy initiative referred to as the Level Crossing Removal Project. In addition, 13 control sites were selected where such barriers were not removed. The study measured changes in 7 types of land uses between 2015 (prior to the renewal) and 2020 (at least two years after the renewal) at three different spatial scales (200 m, 400 m, and 800 m circular buffers from the sites). The effects were estimated in 21 difference-in-difference models, one for each land use class at every spatial scale. The results indicated a statistically significant increase in commercial (difference-in-difference score = 17.98%) and open space (11.93%) land uses at the 200 m scale in the case sites. However, a significant decrease in residential land was found at the 200 m scale (−28.46%). Findings also show that the effects of LXRP on urban development diminish as the distance increases from the intervention sites. Overall, these findings imply that the removal of level crossings in Melbourne has generated opportunities for local area urban development, mainly at the vicinity of the sites.


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


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