An assessment of walkability in the vicinity of suburban railway stations

Alharthy, Sameeh (2019). An assessment of walkability in the vicinity of suburban railway stations. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

[img] Alharthy2019PhD_final.pdf
Text - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 January 2035.
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (10MB) | Request a copy


Walking is an important and common means of accessing railway stations, and understanding the walkability around railway stations is crucial to providing means of increasing the amount of walking in and around these areas. This study aims to explore this relationship and also the effect of railway service characteristics and the built environment on encouraged walkability within the area around railway stations in the UK. Most earlier efforts in this area have looked at these matters unconnectedly, exploring one aspect of the relationship and ignoring others. Improved walkability can help to make public transport more accessible for all members of society, help reduce dependence on motor vehicles and facilitate the achievement of the UK Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (Department for Transport, 2017) goals. Thus, focusing on railway station walkability is critically significant.

This research studies train station walkability from the following four denominations: railway station service quality, socioeconomic characteristics and macro and micro built environment characteristics on encouraging walkability in the vicinity of suburban railway stations to understand the factors that lead to walking to access suburban railway stations. A case-based research approach is used in this thesis.

This research studied suburban railway station walkability in the City of Birmingham at three levels, including the city level, neighbourhood level and street level. Analysis at the city level in this research is undertaken by ward, and 19 train stations are used. For analysis at the neighbourhood and street levels, five train stations were selected for more detailed study. The case studies were evaluated based on the conceptual framework formulated with the help of a literature review. In the quantitative analysis of the case studies, Google Earth and Google Street View were used as audit tools to gather data. Other elements of the data come from the Ordnance Survey, and all data were analysed using geographic information systems (GIS). Moreover, focus groups were also used for qualitative analysis. A total of four focus groups were held, associated with two different train stations, one high-use and one low-use train station.

The results show that, in general, local train station buildings require some enhancements, such as escalators, heated waiting rooms, fenced lifts and train platforms for children’s safety and regular maintenance of train station ticket and vending machines. In addition, the present staff of train stations can help to advance safety. Also of importance is that the location of the train station be clear, prominent and easy to access as well as be surrounded by an attractive environment.

Regarding trains, most are old and uncomfortable and should be cleaner and have more carriages. Low-use train stations were characterised by delays or cancellations, having low regular service and not being child-friendly. Moreover, low-use trains were characterised by irresponsible driver behaviour and speeding. From a built environment perspective, low-use train stations were characterised by an unclean built environment generally and especially pavements and the overall appearance were not comfortable for pedestrians. Low-use train stations are characterised by low commercial use, low building density and high industrial use.

It was found that presence of business activities on the way to the train station and a high-quality environment – with cleaner, wider and even pavements as well as pedestrian bridges – encourage train station walkability.

It is recommended that the areas around train stations support walkability by maintaining a safe and comfortable environments for pedestrians. There should be more ‘pleasing’ elements on the way to the train station, such as benches, landscaping, well-decorated building facades and effective litter management. and where large green spaces dominate. The study shows that, at the street level, local train stations lack a number of key micro-built environment walkability elements, such as outdoor dining, buffer zones, traffic signs and benches.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering
Funders: Other
Other Funders: King Saud University
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year