Empirical models of transit demand with walk access/egress for planning transit oriented developments around commuter rail stations in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Mitigating the negative impacts of urban sprawl by reducing reliance on the automobile and improving the use of public transit and active transportation modes may be achieved with Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). TOD is a compact, mixed-use, pedestrian and cyclist friendly form of urban development that is oriented towards transit use. One outcome of TOD is an increase in transit riders walking to and from a central transit station to complete their journey. Although TOD has been the subject of much research, no empirical studies have investigated factors that affect transit ridership with walk as the station access and egress mode. GO Transit is a regional public transit network operated by Metrolinx throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in the Province of Ontario. The GO Transit network consists of numerous rail stations in varying urban areas. Most commuters (over 80%) are accessing GO Transit rail stations by automobile, which includes the park-and-ride, kiss-and-ride and carpooling modes. Conversely, only 8.39% of commuter rail station access occurs by walking (Metrolinx, 2014). An important and ongoing strategy for this regional rail network is to increase the use of active transportation, specifically walking to access all rail stations throughout the network (Metrolinx, 2013). This research empirically investigates the relationship between certain characteristics of the urban environment, which are generally encouraged in TOD policy, and rail transit ridership with walk access/egress. Furthermore, the results of this research have spatial implications that are significant for the GTHA and Metrolinx. This research examines both station-level attributes (such as frequency of feeder bus service to a rail station) and characteristics of the area surrounding GO Transit rail stations (such as residential and employment density). By examining these attributes, which are also characteristics of TOD, the authors make inferences about their effects on rail ridership. Two separate models are estimated, including a rail trip production by walk access model and a rail trip attraction with walk egress model. By developing separate models for two different contexts, their study identifies the unique factors that influence trip production and attraction. Most empirical studies on TOD employ trip generation models but do not isolate those trips that started or ended with walking. The authors' study fills this gap in the existing research by focusing specifically on those types of trips to identify the influencing factors, which may not be the same for overall trip generation. The research findings are useful since the results identify characteristics of TOD that improve walking to and from a rail station. Those characteristics can in turn be the focus of transportation and land-use planning policies to influence development in areas around rail stations to be more conducive to walk access/egress.


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  • Accession Number: 01670474
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2018 5:04PM