There are a range of matters to consider in planning for getting to and from public transport including: the public transport network, safety, transport access hierarchy, and planning for different travel modes such as walking, cycling and micromobility, fixed public transport services, on-demand and car connections.

Public transport network considerations

Planning for getting to and from the stop should happen alongside planning for the locations of public transport stops and interchanges, as part of wider land use and spatial planning.

When well-designed, public transport stops and routes provide both efficient journeys for the passenger and an efficient network for the network operator and contract manager/funder.

Where walking, cycling and micromobility* access is safe, simple and intuitive for all ages and abilities, the ‘effective catchment’* (which looks at access based on actual routes available rather than solely a ‘birdseye’ view) area for public transport stops increases and in some cases bus stops can be spaced further apart. This can lead to faster, more reliable and more efficient bus services, with less travel time variability for all passengers. 

*See definitions of ‘micromobility’ and ‘effective catchment’ in the glossary.

Dunedin bus network map

Dunedin public transport network map (Source: Otago Regional Council)

Related guidance

Bus stop location planning

Safety getting to and from the stop

Public transport is statistically the safest way to travel in terms of lowest deaths and serious injuries per kilometre travelled.

However, getting to and from a stop or station can represent the highest risk component of public transport journeys. People walking and cycling to or from their service are particularly vulnerable to being hit and injured by motor vehicles. (Source: Waka Kotahi Research Report 581: The role public transport can play in Safer Journeys and, in particular, to advance the Safe System approach)

Planning for safe routes to and from stops is a vital component of public transport planning. Road safety considerations are particularly important to promote walking and cycling as healthy and efficient modes, while keeping public transport users safe throughout their whole journey. Safety also includes peoples’ perceptions of being safe from traffic, as well as from harm or injury as perceptions can shape which travel modes seem viable. Planning for personal safety on first and last mile trips is vital.

mother and child crossing road to bus station

Mother and child crossing road to access public transport

Public transport research

For research related to road safety for public transport refer to: 

Related guidance

Public transport access hierarchy

When planning for getting to and from public transport, transport authorities may develop a hierarchy to describe the relative level of priority that should be given to different access modes.

Specific priorities for each site or stop may differ as multiple modes are often being catered for.

Key considerations used in determining a more widely applicable hierarchy would include:

  • Efficiency – prioritising modes that are space efficient, delivering the greatest number of potential passengers with the least ‘footprint’ or cost
  • Equity and economy –prioritising modes that all or most people have access to with little or no cost outlay
  • Health and safety –prioritising modes that deliver the best health outcomes and prioritising the safety of the most vulnerable users where there are conflicts between the needs of different modes

As such, public transport access hierarchies always prioritise people over vehicles, with walking the highest priority and park and ride the lowest priority overall. The figure below shows the key features of a typical station access hierarchy with walking afforded the highest priority followed by people on bikes/micromobility, then people on buses, and finally, people in cars.

public transport access hierarchy diagram

Mode provision hierarchy for getting to and from public transport and quick tips