This paper examines BRT station walk access patterns in rapidly urbanizing China and the relationship between bus rapid transit (BRT) station context and corridor type and the distance people will walk to access the system (i.e., catchment area). We hypothesize that certain contextual built environment features and station and right-of-way configurations will increase the walk-access catchment area; that is, that urban design influences users’ willingness to walk to BRT. We base our analysis on 1233 user surveys, conducted at 19 BRT stations along three existing (as of summer 2009) BRT corridors in the city of Jinan. Ordinary least squares regression is applied to estimate the relationship between walk access distances and aggregate station- and corridor-area characteristics, controlling for individual- and trip-specific attributes. The results suggest that people walk farther to BRT stations when the walking environment has certain features (median transit-way station location, shaded corridors, busy and interesting). Trip and trip maker characteristics play a relatively minor role in defining BRT walk access distance. Implications include the need for flexible transit station catchment area definitions in identifying transit-oriented development opportunities and estimating system demand.
Keywords: BRT, built environment, Bus Rapid Transit, China, corridor, Walk access