Editor: Clare Flitton of Landsec recently discussed a “pandemic-driven office revolution”. This isn’t the only asset class that could benefit from fresh thinking.

Aligned to shifting working patterns and the dispersal of traditional five-day-a-week, 8am–6pm commuter peaks, there is a huge opportunity to reconsider the way our railway stations and the land around them function.

This requires a big shift in mindset. Historically, a transport operator’s focus was on mobility; getting people on to trains as quickly as possible. However, thanks to hybrid working trends and people spending more time closer to home, there is an opportunity to reinvigorate railway stations and their surroundings, turning them into active mixed-use, community hubs that can work all day long.

In the future, we might go to the station and not even board a train but visit the doctor, eat a meal or do a few hours at a co-working space. Of course, this depends hugely on the specific station and site constraints, but there are certainly sites across London and the UK where this could become a reality.

For more suburban locations, a part of this could include repurposing segments of station car parks in light of fewer people driving every day. The usage data won’t lie here and there is huge potential to repurpose these underutilised spaces to deliver new value from existing assets.

From a retail perspective, if station operators consulted more closely with retailers from the outset, stations would look very different, yet both goals – mobility and retail success – could be met. We could look at including unique experiential offerings that can’t be found elsewhere, which would attract people to spend more time at stations for reasons other than just travel.

New York’s Grand Central is a shining example of this. Our transit systems have more data on users than anybody, the kind of data that those in retail would kill for, so why not use it?

This phase shift won’t happen overnight but is the type of big-picture, 50-year-view thinking that is needed to ensure that in the future our transport hubs work for everyone in a sustainable manner.

Jorge Beroiz, principal, CallisonRTKL