Effective access to and from stations is critically important to high-capacity public transportation systems and the communities they serve. Passengers generally arrive at stations (i.e., heavy rail, light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit) by automobile, feeder services, bicycle, and foot. Some public transportation systems and local communities believe that feeder services are preferable to auto access and the associated parking requirements. While at other systems, limited station parking is seen as a major constraint to further ridership growth. Some communities plan residential and multi-use developments in conjunction with stations (i.e., Transit-Oriented Developments [TOD]) to build ridership and improve community livability. Thus, this research addressed past practices, best practices, and innovations for potentially complementary or competing alternatives of accessing stations for high-capacity public transportation services.
Decision making regarding access to high-capacity public transportation is complex and affects many stakeholders. The planning, development, and operation of stations involves decisions and trade-offs among access alternatives. In turn, the decisions affect transit ridership, revenue generation, short- and long-term capital and operating costs, congestion, adjacent communities, and the environment.
The objective of this project was to develop a guidebook on the various alternatives for providing access to and from stations of new and mature high-capacity public transportation systems, including heavy rail, light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit. The research addressed the benefits, costs, synergies, and trade-offs among parking facilities, feeder services, non-motorized access, TOD, and other alternatives.
The project was completed in late fall of 2011, and the report was published in March 2012 as TCRP Report 153 along with a companion CD-ROM. The companion CD-ROM includes the Transit Station Access Planning Tool (a spreadsheet-based station analysis tool for assessing various station access alternatives) and all five appendices in color. The literature review also has been published as a Web-Only document.