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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rail Access Modes and Catchment Areas for the BART System

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

To date, far more research has been conducted on the effects of the built environment on transit demand along mainline corridors than in the catchment zones surrounding transit stops. Pushkarev and Zupan (1977), for example, correlated transit ridership for the line-haul segment of trips as a function of residential densities, distance to downtown, and size of downtown; however, they ignored how access trips to transit stops were influenced by such factors. Seminal work by Meyer, Kain, and Wohl (1965) studied factors influencing bus and rail transit demand for three segments of trips – residential collection – distribution, line-haul, and downtown circulator – however, their work did not examine the direct effects of land-use variables. For example, in the case of access trips from home to rail stations, or what they call the residential collection-distribution segment, the number of “trip origins per city block” was used as the predictor of access demand. Standard trip generation rates were used to directly estimate access demand.

As part of the BART@20 study, this report studies the influence of the built environment on two aspects of transit demand: (1) modes of access to and from rail stations; and (2) the sizes and shapes of the ridership catchment areas. Variations in both modes of access and catchment area sizes are studied for different classes of stations, defined mainly in terms of the land-use environment. Also, both descriptive statistics and analytical models (ANOVA and regression) are used for examining these relationships.

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