All stations matter, not just the big ones

“Everything about stations is broken,” says Mark Rose a former head of stations policy at the DfT. Rose now works for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) as station policy lead, and his comments were made at Landor’s  conference.

“Neither the DfT, nor Network Rail, nor the Strategic Rail Authority previously  has or had a stations policy. There is no guiding mind or strategy. That causes uncertainty when stations pass from one franchise holder to another. Many stations have been unchanged for decades. Responsibility for maintenance and repairs remains fragmented. Devolution, however, presents an opportunity to fix stations at last and exploit them properly for the first time.

“All stations matter, not just the big ones. Some of those are over-hyped: Kings Cross – in my opinion – is not as good as it is made out to be; certainly not for those suffering from visual or sensory impairment.”

Rose maintained that stations were more than just gateways and station providers needed to understand the communities they served better: “TfGM is developing specialist demographic tools and we have access to detailed data sets from government sources. This gives us information about the health, education, welfare profiles and other social characteristics of the areas around individual stations. We can then target investment to meet the needs of those communities. Using data sets makes our research scientifically-based and enables us to monitor the results.”

Blackrod station overlaid with educational data. This is the kind of detailed analytical demographic studies
Blackrod station overlaid with educational data; an example of the detailed demographic analysis undertaken by TfGM.

Rose maintains that this is a new and unusual development: “We can manage station space more effectively this way. For example, by bringing redundant buildings back into use as crèches, health centres or to serve other social purposes.”

An exclusive report from Landor’s 16th Rail Stations & Property Summit, London, 18 February, 2016

 

692/Mar16

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