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High Streets

What we say

The way we shop and access services has changed dramatically.

High street businesses and councils managing the public realm are faced with a choice: to adapt to the digital economy and rising challenges, such as air pollution, or face continued decline of our town centres.

A fresh look at what makes high streets enjoyable places to be is vital. 

Our Pedestrian Pound research highlights evidence that by investing in the walking environment we can help to reverse this decline. It shows that shoppers on foot can spend up to six times more than those who arrive by car. 

What we want

We continue to believe a focus walking can put high streets at the heart of healthy and economically vibrant communities.

We want to see:

  1. More emphasis on investing new and improved pedestrian spaces
  2. Reduction in traffic levels and reallocation of space for new uses
  3. Better monitoring and evaluation of the impacts economic improvement to build the business case for future improvements.
Two women walking down a high street

The Pedestrian Pound

Originally published in 2013 and updated in 2018, The Pedestrian Pound should be of interest to anyone concerned with the future of our high streets and urban centres.

Prepared by independent experts Just Economics, our report has become a much-quoted reference point when making the economic case for investing in better streets.

The new edition expands the evidence and for the first time explores how the digital economy impacts and interacts with the economic viability of high streets as places.

Key findings:

Shoppers on foot can spend up to six times more than those who arrive by car.

Data on streets where the pedestrian experience has been improved shows footfall increasing 20-35%

When streets are regenerated to boost walking, there is a corresponding impact on turnover, property values and rental yields. For well-designed projects, sales can increase by 30% or more when footfall is boosted.


We are pleased to have appointed Transport for Quality of Life to update the Pedestrian Pound.

The project has been made possible by lead funder Paths for All, and contributions from the Foundation for Integrated Transport and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund.

A lot has happened and changed on the high street in the past five years. This edition aims to broaden the evidence base for improved walking environments to include the benefits of happier and healthier people, stronger communities and a more resilient environment. Country specific annexes to the main report will add new case studies local to England, Scotland and Wales.

The report will be published online in the summer of 2024.