Trial closure of Boots Corner data reveals increase in pedestrian and cyclist activity

Published on 29th July 2019

Close up of bikes locked to a bike rack, with people sitting on new seating at Boots Corner in the background

One year on in numbers.

Since the Boots Corner trial began, Cheltenham Borough Council, using an independent specialist company,  has been collecting pedestrian and cyclist data in this part of the High Street to record changes in the use of the space.

The latest data collected, survey week 6 (10-16 June 2019), is one year on from the first dataset collected, survey week 1 (11-17 June 2018), which was before the trial began. 

Comparing these two survey weeks, the data shows the following activity in week 6 compared to week 1:

  • 133% increase in the number of pedestrians,
  • 138% increase in the number of cyclists,
  • 84% increase in the number of parked bicycles,
  • 28% decrease in the number of people sitting, and
  • 142% increase in the number of wheelchair/mobility scooter users.

Week 6 had very wet and cold weather in comparison to week 1, and this is reflected in the decrease in the number of people sitting. The overall results above however, reinforce the upward trends seen in pedestrian and cyclist activity back in 2018, and also align with other independent data from local bus operator Stagecoach and the Brewery Quarter.

Rupert Cox, Stagecoach managing director, said: “During the past 12 months we have seen an extra 270,000 bus passenger journeys made across Cheltenham. That's about 5,200 a week or 4.3% growth.

“Our buses have seen an improvement on their punctuality which is up from 92.5% to 93.1% (based on all routes which cover about 2.6 million annual miles). We are also investing more than £2m in 14 new buses for services in the town and they are expected to enter service in late 2019.”

Data shared by The Brewery Quarter reveals that from June last year to June this year their footfall has increased by 12%, with average trade performance up by 5%.

Cllr Andrew McKinlay, member for development and safety for Cheltenham Borough Council, says: ‘’This data shows a year on year comparison and it’s clear that the trial closure has seen more pedestrians, cyclists and those with limited mobility use the area.
“A Climate Emergency has been declared for Cheltenham and it’s essential that we’re doing everything in our power to help tackle climate change, reduce carbon emissions and work towards becoming carbon neutral.

‘’The council’s transport plan is clear that greener forms of travel such as walking, cycling and using public transport, particularly for short journeys are to be encouraged to improve the town centre environment and local economy.’’

Taking an average of all the survey weeks since the traffic trial started (weeks 2 – 6), the data shows the following activity:

  • 121% increase in the number of pedestrians,
  • 189% increase in the number of cyclists,
  • 71% increase in the number of parked bicycles,
  • 20% increase in the number of people sitting, and  
  • 113% increase in the number of wheelchair/mobility scooter users, in comparison to survey week 1 - before the traffic trial started.

Initial ideas for the future of the High Street are included in the council’s recently released ‘fly-through’ video which sets this project alongside its ambitious programme of improvements throughout the town centre and helps envisage how the area could look - and how beneficial connectivity is for the High Street by bringing all parts of the town centre together. The public are being asked for their views in a short online feedback form.


For media enquiries contact: communications, telephone 01242 264332, email communications@cheltenham.gov.uk

Notes:
An independent data collection company was commissioned to collect the pedestrian and cyclist data. For more information about the data including how it was collected and analysed please visit https://www.cheltenham.gov.uk/trial-data.

Share your views: For more information about phase 4 of the transport plan – Boots Corner - including revised maps showing the amendments visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ctp  

In September Stagecoach will also be making further improvements to bus frequencies. These include:

Service B to Charlton Kings goes from 3 buses an hour to 4 buses an hour

Service N to Prestbury goes from a 40 minute frequency to a 30 minute frequency and new faster journeys on service 94X between Cheltenham and Gloucester - running up to every 30 minutes at peak times in addition to the existing journeys on service 94 (with a frequency of  up to every 10 minutes).