Pedestrian connections

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A VTA light rail train station in San Jose illustrates an inviting and comfortable environment for pedestrians. Photo by Flickr user Albert's Images.

All commuters begin and end their trips as pedestrians, so a safe, secure and pleasant pedestrian experience is an important component of any public transportation system. Agencies can work with local governments to identify and improve the quality of pedestrian connections surrounding transit stations and ensure that there are abundant sidewalks and safe street crossings that connect commuters to the transit station.

Agencies have begun to take a more active role in improving the out-of-vehicle waiting experience at transit stops by supporting the provision station amenities that provide information and protect riders from the elements. Studies show that out-of-vehicle transit rider experience can be even more important than in-vehicle experience.

Improvements to pedestrian access and connections

The provision of a comprehensive network of safe, comfortable and secure paths for pedestrians is ultimately the responsibility of the municipalities served by transit agencies. However the transit agency can play a supportive role in this regard. Los Angeles County Metro disperses funds through its Call for Projects, which includes dedicated funding for pedestrian improvements that "promote walking as a viable form of utilitarian travel, pedestrian safety, and an integral link within the overall transportation system."[1]

Agencies may want to give careful attention to ensuring:

  • An extensive sidewalk network connects transit stations to origins and destinations.
  • Sufficient safe street crossings, because virtually every transit trip involves crossing the street at the departure or return.
  • Protection from the elements, i.e. shade trees along sidewalks.

For discussion of pedestrian environment at station, see section on how to improve out-of-vehicle experience for transit users.