One of many fantastic presentations at Walk 21, was from Living Streets London Manager, Tom Platt. He spoke about the business case for investing in better streets and places to deliver improved financial return for the high street (also known in other countries as the main street, downtown or shopping streets).
In the last decade, 16 per cent of high street shops in Britain have become vacant. During this time people have continued to move from short frequent shopping trips, to longer, less frequent car trips, with two thirds of shopping trips made by car.
The UK based study entitled the Pedestrian Pound, was commissioned by Living Streets and supports investing in the public realm as a means to increasing retail spending, reducing retail vacancies and creating an environment where people will walk for shopping trips. (This also contributes to other established co-benefits related to health, social inclusion and the environment).
The study findings include that:
- Well planned improvements to public spaces can boost footfall and trading by up to 40%.
- Investing in better streets and spaces for walking can provide a competitive return compared to other transport projects, with walking and cycling projects increasing retail sales by up to 30%.
- Many car journeys are short and as the volume of goods is small, these trips could be made on foot.
The report is also supported by interesting case studies from the UK, including:
- Sheffield, Heart of the City
- Oxford Circus, diagonal crossing – where improvements to the pedestrian environment were found to result in an increased turnover of 25% for one of the major retailers facing this intersection.
- Reinvigorate York, providing pedestrian improvements for the 7 million visitors that visit York annually.
To find out more about this study click here.