Boots Corner pedestrian and cyclist data collection

We commissioned a private data collection company to record pedestrian footfall, cyclist counts, number of people sitting down, number of bicycles parked, and number of wheelchairs in the Boots Corner area, on four separate survey weeks:

  • Survey week 1 (commencing 11 June): before the Boots Corner trial restrictions commenced
  • Survey week 2 (commencing 2 July): first full week of the Boots Corner trial restrictions
  • Survey week 3 (commencing 8 October): after temporary changes were made to the space, including the installation of new benches, planters and bike racks.
  • Survey week 4 (commencing 14 November): a second week for after the temporary changes were made to the public space and also following major shop openings along the High Street.

These survey weeks were chosen to fall outside of school holidays. We also looked to avoid major town events, but this just wasn’t possible. However, this shows the nature of our thriving town - events were taking place across all four weeks where data was collected. A narrative for the weeks’ selection has been provided below.  

We're using this data to acknowledge how the Boots Corner trial restrictions and changes to the public space at Boots Corner may be affecting pedestrian and cyclist movement in the area. How the data was collected and analysed has been detailed below. The raw data for each survey week is available via links at the bottom of this webpage.

Here are the totals for the first four weeks:

Pedestrians

Week 1 14,657 total pedestrian movements
Week 2 27,008 total pedestrian movements
Week 3 31,695 total pedestrian movements
Week 4* 30,912 total pedestrian movements*

Cyclists

Week 1 220 total cyclist movements
Week 2 674 total cyclist movements
Week 3 694 total cyclist movements
Week 4* 631 total cyclist movements*

Wheelchair users

Week 1 48
Week 2 74
Week 3 82
Week 4* 92*

People sitting down

Week 1 1,223
Week 2 1,455
Week 3 2,025
Week 4 1,160

Bicycles parked

Week 1 269
Week 2** 168**
Week 3 263
Week 4 461

*A total of 4 hours worth of data collection was missed during survey week 4 for pedestrian footfall, cycle counts and wheelchair counts. Please read the "Analysing the data" section below for more detail.

**please note the figures for week two were taken after the railing had been removed from Clarence Street and before the new bike racks had been installed.

Collecting the data

The way the data was collected was the same for each survey week to allow for comparisons to be made. Cameras were placed at Boots Corner to record footage for analysis.

For each survey week, 21 hours were recorded - 3 hours per day, each hour covering the “peak periods” of 8am-9am, 12.30pm-1.30pm, 5pm-6pm. Within each of these hours, the following data was collected: pedestrian footfall, cyclist counts, number of people sitting down, number of bicycles parked, and number of wheelchairs. These are described in more detail below.

“Pedestrian footfall” is a measure of the number of pedestrians passing between Boots and the end of the fountain plinth (imagine an invisible line drawn here) in both westerly and easterly directions. So, if a person was to walk over this invisible line towards the Brewery that would be one footfall “count” in a westbound direction; alternatively if a person was to walk over the invisible line towards the Regent Arcade that would be one footfall “count” in an eastbound direction. Therefore, after a whole hours recording we end up with multiple counts for both westbound and eastbound. The total of these westbound and eastbound counts is the number of pedestrian movements at Boots Corner for a given hour.

“Cyclist counts” follows the same method for “footfall” above.  A “cyclist” includes a person walking with a bicycle. It’s worth noting that “pedestrian footfall” and “cyclist counts” may include a single person/cyclist going past the camera multiple times in the same hour of recording. Both of these counts are analysed automatically, and the accuracy of this has been stated as 90% by the private data collection company. However, random manual checks of the data also take place and have shown the data to be more than 95% accurate.

“Number of people sitting down” was counted manually by the private data collection company from recorded footage at 5 minute intervals.

“Number of bicycles parked” was counted manually by the private data collection company from recorded footage at 5 minute intervals. For survey week 1, this focused on the 7 bike stands next to Starbucks and the railing on to Clarence Street. For survey week 2, this focused on the 7 bike stands next to Starbucks only as the railings had been removed. For survey weeks 3 and 4, this focused on the two new cycle racks provided in the road spaces after the stands next to Starbucks had been removed.

“Number of wheelchairs” includes mobility scooters and was counted manually by the private data collection company from recorded footage at 5 minute intervals.

A person sitting, a wheelchair in the space or a bicycle parked may be counted more than once if they were in the space for longer than the 5 minute interval. For example, if a person was sitting for a whole hour, then they would make up 12 of the total counts for that hour. This means that, from the data, we don’t know how much of the percentage change is because people are sitting or parking their bikes for longer. However, this method was kept consistent across the recording weeks, making it suitable for comparison between the weeks.

Analysing the data

Cheltenham Borough Council has previously released data collected at Boots Corner in terms of percentage increase/decrease. Each of the percentage changes that have been previously stated were calculated by comparing the totals of each dataset (pedestrian footfall, cyclist counts, number of people sitting down, number of bicycles parked, and number of wheelchairs) from the survey weeks that occurred after the Boots Corner trial restrictions (survey weeks 2, 3 and 4), to the survey week that occurred before the Boots Corner trial restrictions (survey week 1). 

However, during survey week 4 (week commencing 14 November), one of two cameras positioned in the Boots Corner area was turned on the Saturday afternoon (19 Nov) so that it was no longer facing Boots Corner. This camera was collecting data on pedestrian counts, cyclist counts and wheelchair counts. Therefore, for these three datasets, data was not collected for the last 4 hours of survey week 4 (Saturday 5pm-6pm and all hours on Sunday). The other two datasets, bicycles parked and people sitting, were unaffected as this data was being collected from the other camera. In order to calculate an average for all surveys after the Boots Corner trial commencement (survey weeks 2, 3 and 4), data for pedestrian counts, cyclist counts and wheelchair counts is to be taken for Monday – Saturday lunchtime only (17 hours instead of 21), as a result of the camera being turned.

Survey week selection

Each survey week was selected in advance and went ahead regardless of the weather.

Survey week 1 – week commencing 11 June was chosen to avoid the Cheltenham Science Festival the week before, the planned removal of the pedestrian guard railing at Boots Corner the week after, and the trial start day the week after that (28th June). Events that did occur during this week: Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival 15-17 June. 

Survey week 2 – week commencing 2 July was chosen because it was the first full week following the commencement of the Boots Corner trial. It was important to establish a baseline as soon as the trial commenced to determine if A) immediate changes have occurred and, B) to compare to future surveys to see if there is gradual change since this date. Events that did occur during this week: Cheltenham Music Festival, FIFA World Cup viewings around town, and Midsummer Fiesta 7 July.

Survey week 3  – week commencing 8 October was chosen because it was the second full week following the installation of temporary features at Boots Corner (cycle racks, planters and new seating), which provided time for people to become familiar with the new layout. Choosing this week helped to avoid the first weekend of the literature festival the week before (which had various high-profile speakers), the opening of the John Lewis Partnership store the week after (18 October), and October half-term the week after that. Events that did occur during this week: Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Survey week 4 – week commencing 12 November was chosen to avoid Black Friday the following week and the beginning of late night Christmas shopping the week after that. This week was also chosen to avoid the major shop openings that occurred towards the end of October (e.g. Urban Outfitters), October half-term, and the special remembrance events for the centenary of WWI. Events that did occur during this week: Cheltenham Racecourse The November Meeting 16-18 November.


Raw data downloads

Boots Corner week 1 movements

Boots Corner week 2 movements

Boots Corner week 3 movements

Boots Corner week 4 movements

Boots Corner - wheelchair count, seated pedestrians and bicycles parked