The Railway Station and The Interregional Traveller - traveller preferences and implications for the planning process
Abstract: The interregional traveller’s preferences of railway stations, their service provision and location, are of interest in the discussion of station reinvention brought on by the introduction of high speed train traffic. A railway station is created by station as well as societal agents, and can be described as a synthesis of symbolic value, location, traffic, services and stationscape. Traveller preferences are considered in the planning process by both agent groups. The societal agents take into account public interests, while the station agents show an immediate interest in the travellers, advocating for both traffic and travel related services. Even though the station agents show an especially good understanding of the travellers’ preferences, stations are still not created solely based on travellers’ demands, as stations must fulfil the demands of all interests involved – station-visitors, trade & industry, residents, townscape, and travellers. Interregional travellers express a strong and pronounced image of what they think a railway station should be. This image corresponds directly with what is already provided at a station. That is, the travellers assess conventional station services highly. The travellers also state very clearly that they prefer stations in urban environments, thus they value city central stations higher than external stations. A large increase in service provision can not compensate the travellers for the loss of a central station, which offers a synergy with the surrounding townscape. An external station might therefore be feasible only in cities with few boarding passengers and where a central location would require stringent speed limits. Alas, it is very much a discussion of whether to promote travel or environment, and the question is if positive effects on environment compensate for the negative effects on total travel time, and the travellers’ overall negative assessment of an external station location. This thesis looks at this discussion very much from the point of view of the interregional traveller.
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