Successful urban public transport has to consider all aspects of the journey from origin to destination, from door to door. One component that has been largely neglected is access to, and egress from, rail and bus stations.
Access to mass passenger transport services at bus or rail stations (including bus rapid transit and light rail) is an important component in the overall traveller experience and key to improved patronage and sustained growth into the future.
All the potential access modes have to be assessed in any planning, design or upgrade project, including access by pedestrians, cyclists, car users such as kiss and ride, and park and ride and feeder bus and taxi services.
While there are exemplars in passenger transport station access planning practices from Europe, such as UK Network Rail, and North America (eg TCRP Report 153), there are limited guidelines available for Australian transit planners.
Station access involves the interface of a number of jurisdictions, including transit agency(s), operators, local government, road/traffic agencies, planning agencies, stakeholder groups and local communities, making for a complex collaboration.
Some transit agencies have identified priority access modes – for example BART (San Francisco Bay Area) requires pedestrian access to be the highest priority – the challenge is how to estimate future demand.
As part of recent CRC for Rail Innovation research being undertaken at The University of Queensland, a number of station and interchange guides have been evaluated.
The US TCRP Report 153 and UK Network Rail guides provide best international practice. They provide guidance on the planning process, station categorisation (based on patronage, revenue, density etc), methodology for demand estimation, and principles for enhancing access modes.
References: Network Rail (2011) Guide to Station Planning and Design.
Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) (2012) Report 153: Guidelines for Providing Access to Public Transportation Stations.