Equilibrium or Imbalance? Rail Transit and Land Use Mix in Station Areas

Recently published:

  • Wang, Yuning, Lu, D, and Levinson, D. (2022) Equilibrium or Imbalance? Rail Transit and Land Use Mix in Station Areas. Transportation. [doi]


Although it is widely reported that rail transit has the potential to encourage higher density development, it remains unclear whether rail transit leads to more mixed urban development across station areas. This article provides rare quantitative analysis of changes in land use mix around the rail transit system in Tianjin, China through an investigation into the spatial effects of a rail transit line which cuts across both highly developed and lessdeveloped areas. By using longitudinal data over a twelve-year period (2004–2016) and by comparing the entropy-based land-use mix index, the study shows that with the operation of rail transit, land use mix has increased in formerly low-mixed station catchments, but the change is not obvious for already highly diverse areas. It also shows that a more balanced development occurs in station areas with higher land use dominance, while the leading functions are intensified in station areas with lower land use dominance. By presenting a clear picture of the spatial distribution and patterns of land use mix changes over time, this article concludes that rail transit leads to more balanced development across different station areas in the context of China’s rapid urbanization. The outcome provides a base for further exploring how the planning of rail transit stations may help tackle the differentiated development in cities.

Keywords Rail transit · Land use mix · Spatial variations · Tianjin

Fig. 3 The land use of M1 in 2016
Fig. 3 The land use of M1 in 2016

Dr. Bahman Lahoorpoor

Bahman Lahoorpoor

Congratulations to Dr. Bahman Lahoorpoor for “satisfying the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney.”

Thesis Title:  “Terraces, Towers, Trams, and Trains : Examining the Growth of Sydney using Empirical Models and Agent-based Simulation

Lead Supervisor: Professor David Levinson.

Abstract: Transport networks and land use are inter-dependent. This joint co-development process of infrastructure and building location is often theorised to be a positive feedback cycle: transport infrastructure produces accessibility that induces land development, which induces transport demand and increases accessibility, increasing the production of transport networks (i.e. inducing supply) and further intensifying land development. In Chapter 2 we investigate the critical elements of this dual connection between land use and transit. Sydney as a good example of a rapidly developing city, had public railway transport services beginning in the 1850s, which facilitated and responded to the development of suburbs. Chapter 3 explains how the historical railway network, including trams and trains, and historical population data are collected and digitised. A series of network characteristic measures and a metric for characterising the population distribution are also presented. In Chapter 4 we test whether trams expanded accessibility relative to buses by comparing the services provided by historical trams, the replaced bus services, and the remaining train and light rail networks. We compare 1925, when the tram system was at its peak, and 2020. In Chapter 5 we investigate the theory of interaction between land use and the transit network. We investigate the direct and indirect links between land development and transit investments using the concept of accessibility. We develop an empirical model to capture the Greater Sydney area’s historical evolution of land use and public transit networks. In Chapter 6 we develop a simulation framework to replicate the growth of railway networks by given exogenous historical evolution in land use. The framework is an iterative process that includes five consecutive components including environment loading, measuring access, locating stations, connecting stations, and evaluating connections.

Publications by Bahman Lahoorpoor include:

  • Lahoorpoor, B. and Levinson, D. (2022) In Search of Lost Trams: Comparing 1925 and 2020 Transit Isochrones in Sydney. Findings, March. [doi]
  • Lahoorpoor, B., Rayaprolu, H., Wu, H., and Levinson, D. (2022) Access-oriented design? Disentangling the effect of land use and transport network on accessibility. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives. [doi]
  • Lahoorpoor, B., Rayaprolu, H., Wu, H., and Levinson, D. (2022) Prioritizing active transport network investment using locational accessibility. TeMA – Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment (in press)
  • Rayaprolu, H., Wu, H., Lahoorpoor, B., and Levinson, D. (2022) Maximizing Access in Transit Network Design. Journal of Public Transportation. 24. [doi]
  • Wang, Yingshuo, Lahoorpoor, B. and Levinson, D. (2022) The Spatio-temporal Evolution of Sydney’s Tram Network Using Network Econometrics. Geographical Analysis. [doi]
  • Lahoorpoor, Bahman and Levinson, D. (2020) Catchment if you can: The effect of station entrance and exit locations on accessibility. Journal of Transport Geography. 82, 102556. [doi] [full report]