A worldwide benchmarking study that analysed 27 transit hubs from across the world has found that Australian train stations lag behind their global counterparts due to age, low integration with precincts, and return on property value.

The global benchmarking index from leading design and consultancy firm Arcadis, however, reveals that there is significant opportunity to add more value to communities.

Arcadis’ 2018 Mobility Orientated Development (MODe) benchmarking index analysed 27 global transit hubs including four Australian transit hubs - Martin Place (Sydney), Central (Sydney), Chatswood (Sydney), and Southern Cross (Melbourne).

The Urban Regeneration Strategist for Australia Pacific at Arcadis, Vernon Daal explains that Australian cities are facing their first urban regeneration wave, and how they deal with this in an integrated sense will define the way people move in, at and around stations for decades.

While observing that most of the Australian transit hubs are old and lack strong integration into the broader community, he acknowledges that state governments are addressing this issue by making huge improvements to the transit network through projects such as the Metro developments and upgrades to Central Station in Sydney. Integrated planning for both new and existing transit hubs in Australia will unlock the potential of the entire transit network.

Though there is still a long way to go given the poor performance on some indicators, there is strong improvement and positive momentum overall, which should see these transit hubs continue their progress with current and planned Government investment, says Daal.

The 2017 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Mobility Index had earlier found that Australia cities were in the bottom half of the world for sustainable and effective transport.

Mobility Oriented Development (MODe) is Arcadis’ integrated approach to transit-related developments. MODe focusses on the integration of four key elements that bring value to transit hubs: connectivity, urban environment, social place-making and economic development. These elements are quantified to create a rigorous framework for assessing and comparing transit hubs.