Transport for London (TfL) research shows that improvements that make it easier and safer to walk and cycle in London's high streets lead to more retail space being filled by businesses and a 93 per cent increase in people walking in the streets.
The study, conducted by Matthew Carmona from University College London's Bartlett School of Planning, also found that people walking, cycling and using public transport spend the most in their local shops, spending 40 per cent more each month than car drivers.
The research has been published as part of a new online hub demonstrating the economic benefits of TfL's Healthy Streets Approach. Health Streets aims to create high streets designed for people that are easy to access by foot or bike.
Lilli Matson, Director of Transport Strategy at TfL, said: “This research from our new online hub shows the link between creating enjoyable spaces, where people want to spend time, and the results for better business.”
The study found that compared to unimproved areas:
- Footfall increased – the number of people standing, waiting and sitting nearly doubled and people walking in the streets increased by 93%
- People spent more time in the street, with a 216% increase in activity such as going into a shop, stopping at a café or sitting on a bench
- Retail rental values increased by 7.5%, suggesting that local businesses are thriving in the area
- More retail space was filled by businesses, as there was a 17% decline in retail vacancy
- Office rental values increased by 4%, showing that improving streets is good for many types of business
Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “With businesses across London really struggling to survive, we have to do everything we can to support them.
“The evidence is clear – adapting our streets to enable more people to walk and cycle makes them cleaner, healthier and more welcoming, which encourages more people to shop locally.
“The benefits of designing streets around pedestrians and cyclists and reducing car use can be enjoyed by everyone and will help ensure the future of our high streets.”