Costs and Benefits of Infill Transit Stations

Research Team: Elizabeth Deakin (lead) and Jeremy Halpern

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley

Problem Statement: Stations added along an already built line or set of lines between existing stations are relatively low cost because they take advantage of existing lines and services. They can support additional ridership in the short term by increasing station accessibility and also may support growth in the form of added economic activity, infill development, or redevelopment and revitalization, further increasing accessibility and ridership. In turn, growing ridership may support higher levels of service (larger trainsets, more frequent service) on the lines served. Existing activity centers and neighborhoods may be strengthened by the increased accessibility an infill station provides. New housing and economic development opportunities around infill stations can be substantial if the station location is well chosen, local government policies and community members support growth, and existing owners can expand or developers can secure suitable sites for new construction. On the other hand, economic opportunities can be limited if there is community opposition to growth, local policies are impediments, or there is limited interest in investing in the area from the business and development community. Unwanted neighborhood changes including displacement due to rising property values may be an issue. Transportation level of service plays a role; lines with limited service will offer lower development potential than lines with high levels of service. Also, because adding a station involves added deceleration, dwell time, and acceleration time to existing trips, there is a small negative impact on existing riders due to the added stop.

Project Description: This project examines the costs and benefits of infill transit stations. First, the research team developed an evaluation framework and used it to identify likely impacts. Then summaries of the experience with infill transit stations in Chicago, Washington, and the Boston and San Francisco Bay Area metropolitan areas were developed using published materials as well as a series of interviews with professionals who have been involved in the station development. Findings from the literature and the four examples were applied to the case of a proposed infill station in the Shinn Station area of Fremont, CA, where an intercity train, metropolitan rail, and other regional and local transit services could be brought together. The report concludes with a summary of key issues to be considered in evaluating infill station proposals and a discussion of implications for regional transit planning.

Status: Completed

Budget: $80,719