Proximity Futures has spent the past five years collecting data sets from over 100 sites based around Town & City centres, we do collect data from some shopping centres and venues, but our specialty is high streets.
Like many businesses, there have been some key learnings gleaned from the COVID-19 pandemic and as a business we have been able to adapt and help place managers, local authorities and government bodies to understand footfall and foot-flow.
The number of data sources that are becoming available is growing every day, while we have always understood the importance of good data, and we are experts at collecting it, with a wealth of data sets, we have teamed up with a specialist to further enhance understanding and application of it and its strategic importance.
Reporting on footfall versus analysis of footfall is becoming more important than ever, the “we have a footfall counter” tick-box is not enough anymore and the importance of turning data into actionable, intelligent insights is now the golden ticket. Being able to collect data is one thing but making it extremely useful requires a whole different skill and mindset.
We understand this while at the same time recognize and agree with the advice from the High Streets Task Force that tracking footfall and foot-flow, will be crucially important in gauging the success of interventions as part of recovery planning and offering lessons for the longer-term transformation of town centres.
Our latest collaboration with place management specialists, People & Places now gives us the capability to offer this service. A great example of this service is the case study prepared by People & Places using our GEO-Sense data on tracking Nuneaton’s footfall through the COVID-19 pandemic produced for the LGA.
Whilst the data from footfall monitoring in Nuneaton showed a dramatic fall from late March 2020, it also demonstrated that the easing of restrictions in August prompted a rapid bounce back to 79% of 2019 footfall levels.
Chris Wade, Director at People & Places said “The case study gave us the chance to get to grips with Proximity Futures’ GEO-Sense footfall monitoring system used in Nuneaton and also apply some of the learning it offers about foot-flow around towns.
As GEO-Sense monitors smart devise activity around town, we were able to investigate how the balance of foot-flow changed as the pandemic progressed, with the data showing that Nuneaton’s Market Place was no longer the most popular first destination for customers in summer 2020”.
“Invited to undertake similar analysis of quarterly footfall monitoring for LOVE Loughborough BIDusing GEO-Sense data, we found similar patterns of decline followed by rapid recovery when restrictions were eased. The extremes were greatest for the evening economy. Foot-flow to Loughborough’s Market Square as a key destination was also the most markedly impacted by the pandemic”.
On the strength of the work in Nuneaton and Loughborough, we are working with People & Places to help capture more learning from the depth of data that our GEO-Sense system offers.
We can provide a quarterly footfall analysis service in those towns that would value an expert external eye alongside their local knowledge of what is happening on the ground. Our working title for this service is “people, places & proximity”.
Decisions through data has been our strap line for some time now, and is more relevant than ever however, establishing context for the data you are being provided with is paramount. What do the numbers mean? How do they move around a place? How does this affect the dynamic of the town?
Data without context isn’t that meaningful and can actually lead to bad decisions through interpreting it the wrong way!