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.
How do you get people to walk or take transit over driving?