Shop­pers on foot out­spend those who drive

Re­search finds show pedes­tri­ans can spend up to six times as much

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By ALAS­TAIR DAL­TON

Christ­mas shop­pers who walk to the stores spend up to six times as much as those who drive, pedes­tri­ans’ cam­paign group Liv­ing Streets Scot­land have claimed.

It said those who came on foot vis­ited shops far more fre­quently than peo­ple who drove to make their pur­chases.

The group pointed to re­search in its up­dated re­port, The Pedes­trian Pound, launched in the Grass­mar­ket in Ed­in­burgh yes­ter­day.

It said: “A re­view of aca­demic ev­i­dence in the re­port shows shop­pers on foot can spend up to six times more than those who ar­rive by car, and peo­ple value walk­a­ble des­ti­na­tions and in­vest­ment in the pub­lic realm.”

Pol­icy and re­search co-or­di­na­tor Dr Rachel Lee said: “Pedes­tri­ans visit more of­ten, as do bus users. The fact they visit more of­ten and spend each visit means their to­tal spend adds up to more than peo­ple ar­riv­ing by car over the same pe­riod.”

She said a Lon­don study found those in cars gen­er­ally vis­ited once a month or less, while half of pedes­tri­ans vis­ited daily and one third sev­eral times a week.

Liv­ing Streets Scot­land said the num­ber of peo­ple us­ing streets where im­prove­ments had been made had in­creased by up to 35 per cent, in con­trast to a 22 per cent de­cline in foot­fall over­all over the decade to last year. It said Ed­in­burgh and Kelso were among places with thriv­ing streets. A spokes­woman

said: “When streets are re­gen­er­ated to boost walk­ing, there is a cor­re­spond­ing im­pact on turnover, prop­erty val­ues and ren­tal yields.”

Liv­ingstreetss­cot­land­di­rec­tor Stu­art Hay 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 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.”

Trans­port sec­re­tary Michael Math­e­son said: “This is an im­por­tant re­port 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 foot­fall on our streets re­mains an im­por­tant driv­ing force in our econ­omy.”

adal­[email protected]­man.com

PIC­TURE; SCOTT LOUDEN

Im­prove­ments to streets for pedes­tri­ans have in­creased foot­fall by up to a third

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