A good public transport (PT) system relies on an efficient public transport network. A door-to-door journey using PT usually involves a walking element to and from the PT stops. Fully connected and comfortably designed pedestrian networks are an indispensable precursor to great PT systems and to the urban activity levels that PT is designed to support.[1]

Improving walking can leverage investment made in public transport. When walking becomes more pleasant, access to public transport is improved and ridership may increase, leading to a virtuous cycle of more walking, better public transport, and lower public transport subsidies. Improving the walking environment around public transport stops and stations will improve the attractiveness of public transport journeys[2] and help to maximise the effectiveness of existing and planned investments in public transport in New Zealand.

Public transport riders are more likely to walk than drivers or their passengers (see graphic below) and therefore achieve the health benefits that accrue from regular physical activity.

PNG: Health and wellbeing

Diagram showing the percent and time spent of those who regularly commute using public transport

Public transport riders and walk times per day.[3]

Research reveals that people undertaking a public transport journey remember the walking element of the trip more than the in-vehicle time.  An attractive walking environment feels up to 14% shorter than a basic level of provision. Therefore, attractive walkable environments can lead to an increase in the catchment areas of public transport as the perception of the trip can lengthen the walking distance people are willing to take to a public transport stop or station[4] [5].


[1] NACTO. (2016). Transit Street Design Guide(external link)

[2] Smith, B. (2018). Land Value Uplift Effects from an Incremental Transport Network Upgrade(external link)

[3] Ministry of Transport. (2015). 25 years of New Zealand travel: New Zealand household travel 1989(external link)–2014

[4] Hillnhütter, H. (2019). Walking and Public Transport. Proceedings of the Walk 21 Conference, Rotterdam.

[5] Hillnhütter, H. (2016). Pedestrian Access to Public Transport(external link). PhD Thesis UiS no.314. University of Stavanger. Accessed 4 April 2020.(external link)