Exploring Walking Tolerance of Transitway Users

Principal Investigator:

Jason Cao, Assistant Professor , Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project Summary:

To park or to develop is always a key question for transit station area planning. Planners are interested in a hybrid option, citing park-and-ride (P&R) facilities at the periphery of development around transitway stations. However, the literature offers little evidence for how far a P&R lot can be located from transitways while maximizing ridership and revenue. Using a stated preference survey of 568 P&R users in the Twin Cities, this study conducted several experiments to illustrate their walking tolerance and identify built environment attributes that influence the walking distance. Walking distance is much more important than intersection safety, pedestrian infrastructure, and building appearance in affecting P&R users' choice. The average walking distance is three city blocks when the minimum walking distance is set as two blocks in the experiments. Intersection safety, pedestrian infrastructure, and building appearance help mitigate the disutility of walking distance. If all three characteristics are adequate, it seems that P&R users are willing to walk 1.8 blocks farther than their existing facilities. A further analysis shows that the effects of these four dimensions vary by transit type. The analysis of stated importance illustrates that when determining how far P&R users are willing to walk, they value snow clearance, street lighting, and intersection safety the most. In general, the quality of sidewalk network connecting transit stops and P&R facilities is the most important, followed by safety and security attributes associated with the walking environment. However, the aesthetic quality seems to be the least important for P&R users.

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