Journal Article

Railway stations as public space: how to promote rail journeys via multi-functional railway stations


In many European cities, railway stations have become urban hubs in which a variety of functions and uses are focused, including retail, cafes, offices and housing. They are often also complemented by adjacent amenity open space, both hard and soft landscaped, alongside a broader provision for other modes such as urban public transport, walking and cycling. In this sense, large-scale transport hubs resemble small-scale city centres and like other urban centres, the public space in stations should meet the needs of a wide range of users. The design and management of railway stations is highly complex, and the risk of such nodes failing as quality public spaces is significant.  In addition, railway stations play a pivotal role in encouraging public transport use, and they have the potential to contribute to a modal shift from other, more polluting transport modes such as airplanes or private cars. We argue that the design and management of such spaces is a key variable in the modal choices many travellers, particularly commuters, make. Based on empirical research across Europe, this paper presents a set of criteria and indicators for assessing the quality of railway stations and their adjacent areas. Tailor made measures were applied in seven railway stations in three European countries. This paper summarises the findings from this research in terms of those factors and qualities which evidence from the research suggests can be used in the design and management of rail stations and their surroundings, to increase the attractiveness of rail journeys through enhanced public spaces. Keywords: railway stations; public space; area regeneration; public transport; interim solution

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Otsuka Noriko
Reeve, Alan

Oxford Brookes departments

School of the Built Environment


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-10-10

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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