Blainey, S.P. and Preston, J.M.
Gateways to prosperity? The long term impacts of new local railway stations
At European Transport Conference, United Kingdom.
11 - 13 Oct 2010.
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Despite the large number of local stations opened in the UK in recent years, little analysis has been undertaken of their long-term effects on the communities they aim to serve. This paper aims to address this gap by investigating the short and long-run impact of recently-opened stations on the communities they were designed to serve, using two UK case studies.
Firstly, the long-term impacts of local station construction are assessed using census data from 1981, 1991 and 2001. The catchments of 13 stations opened in West Yorkshire are compared to 20 sites in the same area where stations were proposed but never opened, to establish whether station construction has had a significant impact on population, land use, employment and social class. Detailed analysis of census journey to work data allows changes in commuting flows since station opening to be quantified and compared to background changes in commute patterns from the areas where no stations were constructed. This analysis of census data is supplemented by investigations of land use changes using GIS to analyse spatial data.
Secondly, the short-run impacts of new station opening are investigated based on a further set of case study sites. This is made up of 13 stations opened between 2002 and 2005 across the UK, and of 20 comparable sites where new stations have been considered but where no construction has yet taken place. A range of annual statistics on resident population, housing stock, housing prices, employment, income, and business location and size are used to establish whether or not station opening affects the demographic and economic characteristics of an area in the period immediately following station opening.
Together, the results from the two sets of case studies allow the appraisal of schemes for new local railway stations to be improved, by clarifying the impact of new stations on their catchment areas, and allowing more accurate estimation of the social costs and benefits of their construction.
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