Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Station Area Planning for High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail

Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Railroad Policy and Development has a released a station area planning guideline designed to be a reference tool for state transportation departments and local and regional jurisdictions.

The document, "Station Area Planning for High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail," seeks to help local jurisdictions to accomplish successful station area planning and achieve an optimal integration of the station in its context — to ensure ridership growth and capture livability, sustainability, and economic benefits.

"Rail stations will differ depending on their location — downtown, airport transfer, suburban, and small town," the report notes. "While every station area is unique and should reflect local context, culture and climate, some common principles apply to the creation of forms and public spaces regardless of location. This document offers three such principles along with recommended strategies for the creation of places that invite people to stay and enjoy, and that enhance the economy and sustainability of the region."

The station area planning principles draw upon established transit-oriented development concepts. These hold that through compact development and enhanced transit, walkways and bikeways, TOD can increase access, or the ease of connection between places at the scale of the station area. This in turn enables the transport network to increase access for passengers at the scale of the city.

"As the United States improves its rail infrastructure, the associated advancement in high-speed and intercity passenger rail service represents an unparalleled opportunity to make cities with stations more enjoyable and more economically vibrant," the report concludes. "To foster enthusiasm for this vital planning effort, advance the state of practice, and to help to maximize the riderhip and livability benefits of the rail service to the community, FRA has prepared this document as a reference tool."

Station Area Planning for High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail