Sustainable Transport Choices and the Retail Sector
Jo Baker, Mott MacDonald, UK
This paper will report on research undertaken for the Commission for Integrated Transport and the UK Department for Transport, to gather an evidence base on the travel and retail behaviour of households in a selection of urban areas.
The concerns of the business community about the impact of transport policy on the economic wellbeing of urban areas represent a major barrier to the implementation of more sustainable transport policies. Whilst the environmental sustainability of an urban area is accepted to be of considerable importance, the economic well-being of its inhabitants will also always be critical to decision-making. Transport policy can improve economic performance by reducing congestion, but the direct implications for local business, and specifically the retail sector, can be complex to quantify. To date there is limited objective data on how policies impact on the retail sector.
As a consequence, rightly or wrongly, there may be resistance to the implementation of policies which are considered to be economically unsustainable, whether or not they are environmentally sustainable.
This paper will report on research undertaken for the UK Commission for Integrated Transport and the UK Department for Transport, to gather an evidence base on the travel and retail behaviour of households in a selection of urban areas. The research includes a detailed household shopping and travel diary survey, supplemented by a range of qualitative research with retailers and customers as well as key stakeholders.
The research addresses four fundamental questions, which are as follows:
? Do people who travel by car spend more than people who travel by bus?
? What is the difference between retail spend and mode of travel at the town centre compared to edge of centre and out of centre sites?
? What is the extent to which local transport policy (e.g. demand restraint and bus priority) affects consumer choice on where to shop? What other factors are important?
? What are the main transport priorities identified by shoppers and retailers in each area (by type of centre)?
These questions in turn raise a number of additional issues upon which the research will seek to throw light:
? Changes in the retail sector, and particularly behavioural changes relating to the internet as well as potential links between income and propensity to use the internet and home-delivery services.
? Factors influencing modal choice in car-owning households.
The paper will help to quantify the relationship between modal choice and retail expenditure, and thereby draw conclusions on the impact of transport policy on the choice between urban, edge of town and out of town shopping centres, and the views of the retail sector. In doing so it will examine one of the issues which poses a barrier to the implementation of more sustainable spatial policies in urban areas.
Association for European Transport