There are a number of critical factors that make a transit system work.
Walkability is one of the most important factors to consider when investing in public transit. This means placing transit stops within easy walking distance of both riders’ homes and their destinations. Transit stations must be located in walkable areas – areas where it is easy to get from place to place on foot. Walking and transit go hand in hand.
According to Jarrett Walker, “while there are many ways to get to a transit stop, we plan for one method above all: walking. Sooner or later, everyone is a pedestrian. You may arrive at a stop by connecting transit service or by car or by bike, but unless you take your bike onboard, you’ll still be a pedestrian at your destination.”
Distances that people are willing to walk depends on many factors such as how direct the route feels, the weather, and perceptions of safety.
One really important factor in walkable environments is how visually interesting the route is. In an urban setting, walking through built-up environments with storefronts, large windows or multiple route choices (often called intersection density).
Walks of equal length will feel shorter in a more walkable area and longer in a less walkable neighbourhood.
More about the critical factors affecting transit can be found in our report, Making Transit Functional: A guide to a frequent, affordable and accessible system in Winnipeg.