The introduction of the Phoenix Light-Rail corridor is expected to enhance the public transport system and the efficiency of land use in downtown Phoenix by decreasing automobile use (and therefore traffic jams) in the area. This study focuses on the Light-Rail corridor in Phoenix and aims to explore strategies for increasing Light-Rail ridership in the downtown Phoenix area. Specifically, the study will seek to address, firstly, ridership numbers in each station in downtown Phoenix; secondly, whether the stations with the highest number of Light-Rail passengers correspond to the neighborhoods with the highest population densities; and, thirdly, whether the stations with Park-and-Ride facilities have more Light-Rail passengers. To answer these questions, this study compares Light-Rail passenger numbers with population density, by area, for 2010.
Overall, the centrality of downtown Phoenix has higher numbers of passengers than other stations (Figure 1 and Figure 2). Figure 3 shows population density around the Light-Rail stations in Phoenix. The red circles with bold lines around the stations have a quarter-mile radius, which is a five-minute walking distance. Perry (1929) suggests that this represents the concept of a “neighborhood community”. Perry believes that a city should be an agglomeration of smaller units, which defines its size based upon a five-minute walking radius. The dotted red lines indicate a half-mile radius from the stations. Furthermore, the numbers in Figures 1 and 2 show that fewer passengers use the Jefferson /Washington & 12th Street stations than other stations. The area needs to encourage multiple land use, such as residential, commercial, and office, instead of the existing surface parking lots. Figure 4 proposes infilling by utilizing surface parking areas, as well as using mixed use development, or the first floors of parking structures, for retail.
Interestingly, the stations with Park-and-Ride facilities are not likely to have more Light-Rail passengers than other stations (see Figures 1 and 2). That is, among stations with Park-and-Ride facilities, stations such as 19th/Montebello and 19th/Camelback have relatively high numbers of passengers, while stations such as Central/Camelback and 38th/Washington show a relatively low number of passengers. When the stations near areas with high population density have Park-and-Ride facilities, passenger numbers are more likely to increase. We can also see that the Park-and-Ride facilities in residential areas are more likely to increase the Light-Rail ridership (Figure 5), since passengers want to use the Park-and-Ride facility that closest to home.