Transport for London has published research that shows improvements to make it easier and safer to walk and cycle in London's town centres and high streets lead to an increase in retail rental values, more retail space being filled and a 93% increase in people walking in the streets. The research has also found that people walking, cycling and using public transport spend the most in their local shops, spending 40% more each month than car drivers.
In one major study published today, locations including Bromley North Village, Hornchurch Town Centre, Clapham, Woolwich Town Centre and Walworth Road were studied to assess the impact of improvements, such as widened footpaths, increased space for outdoor seating, new public squares and pedestrian crossings. The study, commissioned by TfL and conducted by Matthew Carmona from University College London's Bartlett School of Planning, 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
The research has been published as part of a new online hub demonstrating the economic benefits of TfL's Healthy Streets Approach, which aims to create high streets that are designed for people, inclusive and easy to access by foot or bike. 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.' Launched today, new online hub, The Economic Benefits of Walking and Cycling, will be kept up to date with research and statistics from TfL and others. Current material on the hub includes a report setting out the economic benefits of planning cycling and walking improvements alongside housing growth, a survey of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) demonstrating the economic importance of walking and cycling to businesses across London, and research suggesting segregated cycle routes in London make our streets more efficient.