Increasing awareness of environmental issues, driven in part by current Government transport policy, has encouraged UK cities to investigate measures to restrict the impact of the private car in the urban area. Whilst this may bring environmental benefits, there are residual concerns over the impact on the local economy.
There are considerable, unanswered, discrepancies between the performance of retail outlets in areas where the impact of the private car has been reduced. Apocryphal evidence suggests that in some cities the enhanced quality of life leads to economic growth, whereas in others reduced car access leads to decline. In the absence of a proper understanding of shoppers' reactions to such initiatives, local authorities may err on the side of caution, with the result that concerns about the economic impacts and the perceptions of retailers prevents full implementation of government policy.
The project will assess the performance of a selection of retail outlets in locations where the impact of the private car has been reduced, or where public transport access has been enhanced.
The objective will be to identify how sustainable transport measures can be implemented in a way which supports, rather than undermines, the local economy.