Dr Rod Tolley – Why walking (and cycling) is good for busine$$

Dr Rod Tolley – Why walking (and cycling) is good for busine$$ –  Queensland Walks, Brisbane 23 November 2012

40% of all trips in Australia are less than 3 km’s in length

57% of Australians are not achieving their daily physical activity requirements

Fuel efficiency is now the 2nd consideration when purchasing a new car, up from 17th place

Research in Vancouver indicates that by 2017 Governments and Councils will spend ZERO on non-health and education expenses (assuming education spending remains at 27% of all budgets because health expenditure will have skyrocket to 73%)

Road ask the audience “Do we (Australia) have an engineering manual which says we should plan cities as if people don’t matter?”

Jan Gehl says “There is more to walking than walking”. That is we need to plan and design places not routes because people want to site, chat, relax, spend money, eat and loiter

Rod says the 3 biggest walking problems we have in Australia are:

  1. Data – We aren’t collecting enough data, we are undercounting and the quality of our data is poor. It’s ‘only what’s counted that counts’. If we want to justify investment in walking we need more and better data
  2. Economic myths – Walking is good for business. We should all read this Heart Foundation discussion paper. http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/sitecollectiondocuments/goodforbusinessfinal_nov.pdf
  3. Changing culture – You can make money from walking. There is a correlation of high ‘Walk Scores’ and higher house values/prices. Get the Walk Score for where you live at http://www.walkscore.com/.  For example the inner city suburb of Teneriffe in Brisbane has a Walk Score of off 88 because you can walk to the shops, school and public transport. By complete contrast the acreage community of Burpengary in Moreton Bay has a Walk Score of 0 because almost all errands require a car.

Parklets, reallocating/reprioritising car parking spaces into outdoor dining areas, in San Francisco increased pedestrian footfall by 40%

The economic uplift associated with taking traffic out of Times Square and making it a place for people included: 84% of people dwelled in the area for longer, 42% of NY residents visited Times Square more often and 26% of employees in the area took lunch more often

In New York they experiment first with ‘cheap and cheerful’ temporary/pilot projects then they make successful temporary projects permanent

Spending power related to mode of travel in London revealed showed that: people walking spend £91, car drivers spend £64, bus users spend £63, £bike riders spend £56 and train/tube travellers spend £46

Closing Madero Street in Mexico City to vehicles resulted in a four-fold increase in footfall and a five-fold increase in spending

Surveys in Graz in Austria revealed that retailers and traders thought that 58% of shoppers arrived by car when actually only 32% arrived by car. The same traders thought that only 25% of shoppers arrived by foot when actually 44% of patrons walked.

Sustrans in the UK say “Traders may push for transport planning decisions and scenarios that are actually not in their best interests”

In Acland Street in Port Philip in Melbourne traders were given money by the council to conduct their own travel surveys. The traders found out for themselves, first hand, that 57% of shoppers arrived by foot, 16% arrived by bicycle or bus and only 26% arrived by car. The traders lobbied Council for car parking spaces to be removed!

Research by BECA in New Zealand has revealed that shoppers want:

  1. Landscaped streets
  2. Pedestrian crossings
  3. Frequent bus services

…. and that traders want:

  1. More on-street car parking
  2. More off-street car parking and car parks
  3. More pedestrian crossings

The world has changed. Planning in the ‘new’ normal has many opportunities, including:

  • Value for Money. The 201 Sydney Inner bikeways study had a BCR of 3.88:1 and the Legible London wayfinding had a BCR of 5.31:1
  • Peak car. Car use is decreasing in most major cities. In 2011 people in the USA drove 6% less miles than in 2012 and Gen Y are less dependent on the car than older generations. More details at Tucker & Milczorski July 2012

Rod says “No-one ever goes to a place because it has great on-street car parking”

Rod concluded that “People on foot are an indicator species of the quality of life in our cities”