Impacts of External Shopping Centres and Planning Aids for Describing the Impacts

Impacts of External Shopping Centres and Planning Aids for Describing the Impacts


K Neergaard, Trivector Traffic, SE


Several studies show that external shopping centres have a great impact on traffic volumes. This study also points out the need for better planning aids, and presents tools for describing the economic, social and environmental impacts.


There is an intensive debate on external shopping centres in Sweden as in many other countries. The advocates of external shopping centres claim they are needed for the retail competition and the opponent?s points out their negative effects on the environment.

In Sweden several studies during 1994-2005 have been conducted on the traffic impacts of external shopping centres. These studies, which will be presented, show that the external shopping centres cause more traffic work than the alternative shopping centre. The presentation will focus on the two latest studies from 2005 and 2006. One of these studies, done by the author and colleagues at the research and consultancy company Trivector Traffic, shows the traffic impacts of different retail localisations: in the city centre, at an external and traffic intensive localisation outside the city and at an external localisation nearby the city. The other study, done by Trivector Traffic and HUI (The Swedish Research Institute of Trade), shows the ecologic, economic and social impacts of external shopping centres in a Swedish region.

Recent studies also shows that there is a need for better planning aids concerning both the strategic planning and localisation of retail and the detailed planning as many plans are put into effect without a thorough description of the consequences. Many cities and regions also lack a strategic vision on retail development.

On behalf of the Swedish Road Administration and the County of Administrative Board in the south of Sweden (Skåne) the author and colleagues have made suggestions for planning guidelines which are to be seen as a complement to the laws on environmental impact assessment and on planning. These guidelines are tools for describing the consequences from an economic, social and environmental point of view and thus make the involvement of the public and the different stakeholders easier which is a fundamental principle in the Swedish planning and building act.


Association for European Transport