Vision from 2050
Typically the hub comprises a railway station and an adjacent bus and PRT station, but there are many variations – for example, the station and the bus station may be some distance apart with a mall connecting them.
Most hubs have comfortable lounges and waiting areas with retail outlets, adequate car parking, taxi and microcab ranks and a cycle centre. Even small hubs have staffed information points and step-free access between their various parts, so that wheelchairs and people with buggies, baggage trolleys and trolley cases can circulate freely.
Walking connections within the hub are no more than 400 metres (4-5 minutes walk) and are well-signed and branded for easy navigation.
Some towns had a bus station of some kind in the historic town centre but their rail station was in the outskirts some distance away. They all now have excellent public transport and cycle links between the two.
Hub towns that have their stations in the outskirts and chose to have their hub at the town centre can be at a disadvantage: journeys from the hub to the connected towns are usually longer and, because they can’t be more than 15 minutes, these ConnectedCities are often smaller than they might otherwise have been. But this is a problem affecting inter-town trains; inter-town trams and buses converge on the hub, and tram-trains have a light-rail spur or loop off the railway.
Where the station was chosen as the hub, the economic balance has generally shifted from the historic centre into the zone around the station, as the physically limited town centre was unable to accept the invigorating growth that being the hub town of a ConnectedCity brings.