Project: Impact of Sustainable Transport Policies on the Travel Behaviour of Shoppers A41

Reference: STP 14/5/4

Last update: 13/08/2003 16:57:58


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.


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.


Transport & Travel Research Ltd
Minster House, Minster Pool Walk, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6QT
0154 416416

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £50,000.00

Actual start date: 01 March 2001

Actual completion date: 26 February 2002


The Impact Of Sustainable Transport Policies on the Travel Behaviour Of Shoppers
Author: Karen Geeson, Natalie Grohmann
Publication date: 20/02/2002
20 February 2002
Source: Transport & Travel Research Ltd
More information:

Summary of results

  1. This study has undertaken an in-depth assessment of the impacts of transport policies in seven cities on the travel behaviour of shoppers and the resultant economic performance of the urban centres.

    The study has confirmed that the impact of most schemes is focused on the reduction of peak hour traffic, and that the behaviour of shoppers is often less substantially affected. A wide range of influencing factors which govern the overall impact of the scheme were identified and have been put forward, but the overlying conclusion is that the perceived detrimental impacts of sustainable transport policies on the retail sector are not evident. Where a downturn can be identified, this usually related to external factors.

    There is also evidence of a notable resistance to modal shift amongst shoppers, but an acceptance that alternative modes could be utilised where they provide an adequate level of service. Investment in Metro schemes, and frequent, reliable and low cost bus services are likely to prove attractive. Many Park and Ride schemes, on the other hand, do not serve the needs of local residents living within the urban area.

    At present, the impact of such schemes is not assessed in a consistent manner, and the study has presented suggestions to improve monitoring and enable more accurate future assessment of policy impacts.

Departmental Assessment Status: Project completed prior to the implementation of the Departmental publications scheme.