The character and design of the public right-of-way near transit stations is critical to promoting transit use and active transportation in general. Ensuring improved accessibility, comfort, and safety for all users of the roadway should be a primary goal for new development near transit. Streets designed to provide a high-quality experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users are a benefit for both the surrounding community and the transit agency.
The quality of pedestrian and bicycle circulation conditions can affect travel activity, including transit ridership. Public improvements that prioritize pedestrian and bicyclist travel create visual cues for motorists and by default, create safe and comfortable facilities to neighborhood centers and transit hubs. Additionally, including pedestrian and bicycle amenities to station areas and connecting those facilities to the surrounding area can create a more accessible transit environment, encouraging new riders.
- Provide adequate sidewalks and sidewalk widths in key transit areas
- Provide safe and convenient crossings, minimizing distances and providing sufficient time to cross
- Improve comfort and safety elements, such as street trees, benches, lighting, etc.
- Create pedestrian-oriented building frontages
- Develop a comprehensive pedestrian circulation system
- Enhance corridor connections to transit stations
- Improve ADA curb ramps
- Create a comprehensive bicycle circulation system
- Enhance connections to transit street/station
- Improve signage and information to highlight key destinations/transit station
- Provide convenient and secure bicycle parking/storage facilities (commercial, residential, government, and transit stations)
- Provide lockers, showers, and changing facilities in businesses
- Bikeshare services (or system)
Improved walking and cycling conditions tend to increase non-motorized travel, increase transit travel, and reduce automobile travel (“Non-motorized Transport Planning,” VTPI 2008; Mackett and Brown 2011; Buehler and Pucher 2012). Multiple studies illustrate the positive relationship between pedestrian-friendly design and lower vehicle miles traveled. For example providing comfortable and ample sidewalk facilities is key in converting car trips into walk trips (Fan, 2007; Guo and Gandavarapu, 2010). Bicycle infrastructure has been shown to decrease VMT per household (Bhat & Eluru, 2009; Dill and Carr, 2003). Furthermore, improved walkability around transit stops has been shown to increase transit travel (Ryan and Frank, 2009).
Overall, these studies found that pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure had an positive, though varied impact on VMT reduction The elasticity for VMT related to pedestrian infrastructure ranged from -0.02 to -0.19 (Spears, Boarnet, and Handy 2014).