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Authors:  Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Dana Cuff, Harrison Higgins

Date: April 2, 2012

Project: Up in the Air: Urban Design for LRT Stations in Highway Medians

Increasingly, some transit agencies, including several in California, construct light rail train (LRT) systems along the median of existing freeways or in other elevated rights-of-way. The reasons behind the development of such stations include avoiding high right-of-way acquisition costs, increasing train speeds, and limiting modal conflicts. However, concerns about this strategy include the potential negative impacts that such stations may have on adjacent neighborhoods (in terms of land values, noise, and safety) and the challenges of integrating elevated stations with surrounding activities and land uses, resulting in lost opportunities for transit-oriented development (TOD). Scholarship exists on the effects of elevated stations on neighborhood real estate values, but less is understood about how to improve their accessibility and connectivity through urban design, thus achieving a better integration between the station and its surrounding neighborhood.

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