Access, Information, Efficiency, and Flexibility ? the Future of Retail Travel

Access, Information, Efficiency, and Flexibility ? the Future of Retail Travel


D Halden, DHC, UK


A review of the factors affecting transport change based on the political desirability, market factors and public acceptibility.


This paper is based on a review of the factors affecting transport change in Britain. The development of transport, the economy and society are interdependent. In the 19th century, the developing rail network helped cities to strengthen their position as major retail centres. The 20th century was the age of the motor car widening the range and choice of viable retail locations to suburbs and out of town locations. At the start of the 21st century, fast-developing electronic information, communication and transport networks are set to make equally profound impacts on both the retail and transport industries. To understand the rate and scale of the emerging changes, DHC and the Institute for Retail Studies were commissioned by the British Council of Shopping Centres to map out the forces for change.

The research involved a detailed scoping of the agents impacting on future transport and was based on a review of published evidence and expert consultation, surveys of retailers, and analysis of data covering economic, social and travel trends. It developed future scenarios and evaluated these through framework analysis. The appraisals were calibrated at a workshop of leading researchers defining the scale and timescale of each effect.

Impacts were then identified under five headings: (1) transport infrastructure and transport cost, (2) managing passenger and freight transport, (3) future modes, (4) information and marketing, (5) demographic, lifestyle and retail market change.

The research identified the mechanisms by which competition in emerging post oil energy markets, personalised information and marketing, and new pricing structures for transport, will accelerate transport change. Retail travel demand is the fastest growing trip purpose. As major retailers increasingly change their focus from selling products to supporting lifestyles, the importance of transport in retail competitiveness is set to rise with major impacts for transport.

Overall the future of transport is defined by the factors which: improve accessibility, support informed travellers, provide flexible solutions and improve competitive efficiency. These factors will increasingly become the focus of transport planning replacing, within a few decades current management structures by mode, ownership and sector.


Association for European Transport