Chart of the Day: Shopkeepers Travel Mode Share Estimates (Bristol UK)

Alex Schieferdecker turned me onto an old Citylab article about parking perception versus parking reality called Four Reasons Retailers Don’t Need Free Parking. It cites a (hard to find) study out of the UK which charted perceived mode-share versus actual mode share for a shopping street in Bristol, UK (a medium-sized city in the Southwest, population 450K).

Here’s the chart in question:


Obviously, England is different than the US. But there are some similarities, and they have a car culture there too.

Here’s the point of the article, discussing the trade-offs between accommodating car traffic and promoting walkable shopping streets:

The Bristol East Side Traders (BEST) group has studied the area around Church Road, the survey site where bus route improvements are now due, and prepared detailed recommendations for measures to improve the area as a commercial zone and the quality of environment it offers local people.

BEST Enterprise Manager Ian Lawry says “we do face a dilemma; many customers still come by car, and some local businesses would like to see more parking spaces provided, but at the same time the busy and polluted road is a disincentive to shoppers, walking access and crossings are poor, and many traders want environmental improvements.”

[See the whole study here.]

In conversations about urban design, I often have frustrating conversations with business owners about bike lanes, sidewalks, parklets, or transit projects. If they change the parking status quo, often business owners will resist these kinds of changes. (See also, Dan Chouma’s post from today.) That’s a common thread no matter where you go, it seems, at least until you reach a certain threshold of walkability.

Anyway, I wonder what the equivalent numbers would look like for a different shopping streets in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, or other Minnesota main streets?

1 thought on “Chart of the Day: Shopkeepers Travel Mode Share Estimates (Bristol UK)

  1. Rob Durchola

    In the 1970s, a small study was conducted at a regional mall in Bergen County, NJ. The mall fronted on a major highway (NJ 17) and was served my a number of bus routes that operated from a consolidated bus stop at the rear of the mall.

    The percentage of people walking to the bus stop with packages (that is, having made a purchase), was much greater than the percentage of people walking to automobiles, as measured at the other entrances.

    I wish I still had the study to provide more details; but one conclusion was that people who used the bus were going to that mall because they knew there were specific merchants there who carried the products they wanted.

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