UBC Graduate Research

All Aboard? Transit Oriented Development Opportunities Around Suburban Commuter Rail Stations Enns, Darren A.


This report provides suburban communities which are adopting commuter rail technology with recommendations on how to maximize the potential for station area benefit. These recommendations were developed from a rigorous assessment of case studies, which used metrics based on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) to gauge the potential for station area development. The project overview is as follows: 1. Start with providing an overview of Transit Oriented Development, its history and relevance to commuter rail; 2. Examine the existing body of research around suburban station area development, Transit Oriented Development and commuter rail; 3. Develop a methodology and a set of metrics to examine different case studies; 4. Analyze the selected case studies using a defined and replicable set of methods; 5. Determine the lessons learned from the case studies; 6. Compile a set of recommendations for communities adopting commuter rail. The project selected case studies were in Seattle and Vancouver, with a total of six station areas examined; two in industrial suburbs, two in residential suburbs, and two in exurban locations. This matched pair approach was used to determine if there were any similar lessons to be learned from like cities in different regions. The sampling methodology within each case study looked at station area land use, pedestrian environments, commercial activity, employment activity, and residential activity. The methodology also controlled for commuter rail technology and community type to ensure that similar communities served by similar rail systems were used as case studies.

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