Not Parking Lots but Parks: A Joint Association of Parks and Transit Stations with Travel Behavior

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Feb 14;16(4):547. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16040547.


Urban design literature says that public open space in a station area could promote walking and other types of physical activity, enhance place attractiveness, and increase property values. In the context of station areas, however, there is a lack of empirical studies on the relationship between the presence of parks and sustainable travel behavior, which is one of the primary goals of transit-oriented developments (TODs). This study examined the impact of park provision on transit users' mode choice in three U.S. regions: Atlanta (GA), Boston (MA), and Portland (OR). This study utilized multilevel multinomial logistic regression to account for hierarchical data structures-trips nested within station areas-and multiple travel modes-automobiles, transit, and walking. After controlling for the built environment and trip attributes, this study showed that when there was a park, people were more likely to walk or take transit to access or egress a transit station. A transit station having a park nearby may provide a more pleasant first-mile/last-mile travel experience. This paper demonstrated that station areas need to incorporate more public space, an overlooked element in current TOD plans.

Keywords: first-mile and last-mile connection; mode choice; public space; transit-oriented development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Boston
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environment Design*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oregon
  • Parks, Recreational*
  • Sex Factors
  • Transportation / methods*
  • Walking / psychology*
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult