Improvements for Pedestrians Increases Shopping Spend

Kirkwall's Big Tree

The ‘walk in’ shopper spends more than those who use their cars to drive to a retailer new research ‘The Pedestrian Pound’ has shown.

Conducted by Living Streets Scotland  it indicated that “shoppers on foot can spend up to six times more than those who arrive by car”.

When streets are made safer for pedestrians and improved there is a 20 – 35% increase in foot fall to retailers.

Stuart Hay, Director, Living Streets Scotland said:

“Walking has long been undervalued as a minor mode of transport but is in fact the lifeblood of the high street. There is a significant body of academic evidence and examples showing that environmental improvements can boost footfall and local economies.

“For too long, the debate has focused solely on parking, instead of getting people out of their cars to support local businesses. For town centres to succeed we need high streets which are safe and attractive for walking, with 20mph zones and cleaner air. With less traffic, people will be encouraged to visit and enjoy their local high street more often.”

Today many people, especially at this time of year, do their shopping online but having a diverse range of shops, cafes and other facilities encourage people to linger longer and spend that little bit more when out and about.

Dr Rachel Lee, Policy and Research Coordinator, Living Streets said:

“High streets need to offer people more than what they can get online. It needs to be about the experience, a place where people like to get together, socialise and feel part of a community. Making places better for walking complements the shift in emphasis towards the quality of the consumer experience. When people enjoy a place, they stay longer and spend more.

“Not only does this boost trade and help revive our high streets but by encouraging people to walk more we also bolster our national economy by improving public health and reducing congestion and pollution.”

Welcoming the report, Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Scottish Government said:

Michael Matheson“This is an important report from Living Streets which underlines the value of walking and footfall to our towns and cities.

“We know that walking benefits individual health and our shared environment, but the benefits do not stop there. While the nature of shopping has undoubtedly changed in the last decade, it’s clear that footfall on our streets remains an important driving force in our economy.

“By doubling active travel budget to £80m pounds, we are working with our active travel delivery partners and local authorities to improve infrastructure and encourage walking as a sustainable form of travel.”

The Scottish Parliament is currently consulting on reducing to 20mph many roads in Scotland.

You can read about that here: 38 Pedestrians were Killed on Scotland’s Roads Last Year

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