Good for Busine$$
The benefits of making streets more walking and cycling friendly
Written by Dr Rodney Tolley
Commissioned by Heart Foundation South Australia
Good for Busine$$ is a discussion paper for built environment professionals
and business people to show the positive financial benefits of making streets
more walking and cycling friendly.
This report asserts that a well-designed, quality street
environment that promotes walking, cycling and public
transport is good for business.
“… it would be advantageous to local businesses to
support measures aimed at attracting more pedestrians
and bus passengers to the local shopping centre rather
than car users … wider pavements (sidewalks) and
traffic restraint measures should result in attracting more
regular, dedicated custom to the area and have a positive
impact on retailers and customers alike.” 1
The Heart Foundation (SA) commissioned this discussion paper
to bring together the evidence around the financial benefits
to retailers and residents in making commercial streets more
walking and cycling friendly.
Walking and cycling to local shops is good for business and
good for the local economy and is essential to the success of
Streetscape enhancements add value to an area and are
associated with higher rents and the attraction of new
businesses. In addition there is good evidence to show that
improving walking and cycling environments raises private
property values by significant amounts.
This report has shown that:
• A high proportion of all retail expenditure comes from local
residents and workers.
• Space allocated to bicycle parking can produce much
higher levels of retail spend than the same space devoted to
• Many car-borne shoppers are “drive-through” shoppers,
stopping to pick up one item on the way to their eventual
destination, rather than people for whom shopping is their
main purpose for visiting the area.
• It is difficult to estimate the value of non-drive-in spend for
main streets. However, it is always bigger than we think.
• Retail vitality would be best served by traffic restraint, public
transport improvements, and a range of measures to improve
the walking and cycling environment.
The Heart Foundation is calling on Local Governments,
built environment professionals, planners, private
developers, retailers and businesses to support better
environments for walking and cycling. This will require:
• Measures to reduce speed.
• Reallocation of road spaces.
• Widening footpaths and providing cycle and bus lanes.
• Using local knowledge to determine what the problems are
and devise solutions.
• Improving public transport.
• Greening the street and making it more attractive with
landscaping and street furniture.
• Investing in maps, street signs and wayfinding.
As this report and the case studies have shown, making
streets more walking and cycling friendly will:
• Increase retail rental values.
• Increase sale prices of nearby homes.
• Significantly increase pedestrian and cyclist activity.
• Generate more business and stimulate the local economy.
• Revitalise 'drive-through' districts into lively places that
people want to visit.
• Encourage people to spend time outside of their homes.
• Reduce noise levels.
• Create attractive and popular places for Adelaide and South
High quality walking and cycling environments around shops,
neighbourhood activity centres and mainstreets are vital for the