Walking to the station: the effects of street connectivity on walkability and access to transit
Ozbil, Ayse N.
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The aim of this thesis is to help understand the impact of street network configuration on travel behavior by modeling pedestrian travel to/from rapid transit rail stations. The primary goal is to determine whether and to what extent street connectivity is related to transit walk-mode shares and walking distances after controlling for population density, land-use mix, household income, and car ownership. The data are drawn from all the stations of Atlanta's rapid transit network (MARTA). The research shows that land-use mix and street connectivity around stations are significantly related to the decision to walk for transit. Importantly, the analysis reveals that station environments with higher street densities and more direct connections within 1, 0.5, and 0.25 mile radii are associated with higher proportion of walking shares among station patrons. Furthermore, the results of analyses for walk trip distances suggest that street networks with denser intersections and more linear alignments of road segments support greater walking distance thresholds. Overall, the findings confirm the hypotheses that well structured and differentiated street networks affect not only transit access/egress walk-mode shares but also the distance people are willing to walk to/from a station. Thus, this study provides some encouragement that effective policies designed to encourage new designs with the option to walk will actually support more sustainable cities in which transit systems can become integrated within urban culture.