Designing for active travel boosts local shopping centres

Orford Road after the mini-Holland improvements

Transport for London (TfL) has just released research showing that the improvements made to the local walking and cycling environments in mini-Holland schemes have led to increased vibrancy in the local shopping centres in those areas. Their research shows that there has been a 17% decline in empty shops and that footfall had increased, with a 216% increase in activities such as going to a shop, stopping at a cafe or sitting on a bench.

The improvements that TfL have been making are supported by local businesses. Kay Buxton, Chief Executive of Marble Arch London BID said "It not only helps the trading environment locally, but it boosts health and wellbeing and fosters a greater sense of community." This was echoed by Ruth Duston, CEO of Victoria and Northbank BID, who observed that "Local employees benefit from commuting and working in a more pleasant environment and businesses have a more satisfied workforce." Before these changes are made, many local business owners are worried about the potential effects, but afterwards, the local businesses are supportive of the changes because of the benefits that they see to the local residents as well as to their sales figures.

In order to provide evidence to transport planners across the UK who want to follow TfL's example, they have launched a webpage, "The Economic Benefits of Walking and Cycling online hub", which will be updated regularly as more research is done. Transport for London have developed the 'Healthy Streets Approach' for planners. Living Streets and the London Cycling Campaign have also released their 'Low Traffic Neighbourhoods' document based on the lessons learnt from the mini-Holland schemes, to help planners to understand how to best encourage more active travel and make local streets better places for residents.

At the Cyclenation & Cycling UK campaigners' conference in November, we will have talks about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

For councillors and transport professionals, we have a workshop on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Friday 23rd November (Details are here including the EventBrite link).

For local residents and campaigners, we will have a couple of sessions on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Saturday 24th November (Details are here, including the EventBrite link).