Abellio imports Dutch methodology in bid to improve station access

Dutch group Abellio has highlighted the issue of walking routes to railway stations, and has this week launched a report on how they can be benchmarked and improved.

The report, Fixing the Link, has been produced in partnership with sustainable transport lobby group Campaign for Better Transport. It explains how a methodology developed in the Netherlands by Abellio’s parent company, train operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen, has been applied to pilot stations in three English towns – Colchester, Ely and Ipswich – in partnership with their respective local authorities. All three stations are managed by Abellio’s Greater Anglia operation.

The concept has its roots in behavioural research which shows that people will stay longer, spend more money and be more likely to return if there is a welcoming and attractive walking route from the station to the town centre.

The report was launched at the House of Commons this week, where it was welcomed by transport minister Stephen Hammond and Louise Ellman, chair of the Transport Select Committee.

Jeff Hoogesteger, chief executive of Abellio, commented: “The challenge we face as an industry is to ensure that we understand the changing expectations of society, and that we continually explore opportunities to innovate and deliver on those expectations.

“This publication introduces Fixing the Link which, I believe, achieves just that by enhancing the contribution that train companies can make to the economic prosperity of local town centres and high streets. I already anticipate it becoming a core planning tool for Abellio’s businesses.”

The report finds that quite small things, like better signing, can make a big difference, but also calls for more far-reaching changes, like pedestrian priority at crossings and better and less car-based development along the station to town centre route.

Working with the results of the pilot schemes, Abellio plans to apply the methodology used in the report more widely to its rail franchises.

 

This article, and many others, appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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