Figure 1: current functioning model of stations (the most common in European stations)

Figure 2: SCP model

CENIT is part of the consortium working on the HORIZON project RAIL4CITIES – Railway stations for green and socially-inclusive cities.

Stations hold a unique position in the urban landscape, providing points of access to trains and other modes of transportation. In addition, they are public places that should be seen as integral elements of the city. In Europe, stations are historically highly integrated into the respective urban systems and affect more stakeholders than just railway companies and travellers. However, railway stations nowadays are often regarded just as a connection node to the train system.

The RAIL4CITIES project aims to close this gap in both research and practice by setting up and iteratively testing a model that sees stations not only as nodes and places, but also as elements that influence how our urban environment develops. This will be achieved by understanding how the potential of European railway stations could be better exploited. The project will develop a new operational model for railway stations based on the concept of “Sustainable City Promoters” (SCP). This model will be corroborated with evidence from five living labs from France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Belgium and three additional case studies from Portugal, which will test how railway stations can play a substantial role in sustainable urban development.

Based on these findings, a refined SCP model, as well as a tool and methodology, will be developed and made available to stakeholders involved in other European stations. This approach aims to act as a trigger for the transition of railway stations in Europe into real promoters of sustainable cities and play a part in leading them towards a new paradigm in the face of the climate emergency.

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