What Time is This Place - Town Centre Pedestrian Flow Time Series
Chiaradia, Cardiff University, Wedderburn, Wedderburn Transport Planning Limited
Presentation, analyse and modelling of the evolution of pedestrian flows recorded over three days, during spring for every year between 1998 and 2011 in Cardiff City Centre
In this paper we present and analyse the evolution of pedestrian flows recorded over three days, during spring for every year between 1998 and 2011 in Cardiff City Centre. During that period Cardiff City Centre, the Capital of Wales has implemented large regeneration projects and increased pedestrianisation. The data set is further analysed with sDNA. sDNA is both a methodology and an open GIS and CAD freeware plug-in for the analysis of spatial networks design, compliant with international network standards. sDNA is underpinning the research that won the 2014 RTPI award for excellence in spatial planning research. Pedestrian flows, city centre regeneration and city life
How does large retail and mixed use regeneration projects impact on public city life in city centre? It usually takes a long time for these large projects to be implemented and few years more to settle. An original data set allow us to follow these changes over a 14-year period in Cardiff City Centre. The study examines the variations of pedestrian flow as public life over a long period in Cardiff City Centre (1998-2011). During that period Cardiff population has increased by 12%, the city centre has been reconfigured by the redevelopment of the Capitol Shopping Centre in 1999, while St David 2 adding 97,000m2 of retail space, 300 dwellings, 33% more car parking, and extended pedestrianisation of the city centre. The spatial distribution of pedestrians is recorded at 26 locations by cordon counts over Thursday to Sunday, change in urban configuration are mapped as pedestrian network maps, accessibility derived indices of the pedestrian network to predict pedestrian flows and change in city life.
Findings and Originality:
Probably the most famous pedestrian times series is the work of Gehl and Gemzoe (2004, 2006) in Copenhagen for the period 1962 to 1996. While the studies in Cardiff is one third long it is extremely original in covering the period of multiple and still ongoing large regeneration projects of Cardiff City Centre.
Three set of findings are reported, compared and interpreted:
Pedestrian patterns: relative stability over the period; time clustering versus spatial clustering; time growth vs place growth: place growth: “the gateways”; growth over time - Thursday and Sunday growth versus Friday and Saturday stability.
Pedestrian modelling: land use, the role of level of service as dispersion parameter over time
Pedestrian count methodology: how reliable are manual counts?
Conclusion and Policy Implications:
In the UK we are witnessing the promotion of active modes of travel such as walking and cycling in urban planning, as evidenced by the Welsh Government’s recently legislated Active Travel Bill.
Policy maker and urban designer should give proper attention to time/place and growth coordination dimensions of public life in City Centre.
The pedestrian surveys reported were funded by Cardiff City Council. These studies provide a valuable understanding of the dynamics of a city centre and its public life. Yet the surveys were stopped after 2011 because of budget constraints. Today, cheaper technologies that exists should be promoted to continue the pedestrian surveys.
Association for European Transport