STATE-of-the-art pedestrian-counting cameras have been installed in Bradford to help guide the future development of the city centre.
The new “footfall” cameras, which went live last week, will provide accurate, live information on how many people are visiting the city centre and when.
They will measure how visitors move around, participate in events and use facilities, and the data collected will inform and influence city centre management policy and future plans as well as providing evidence to encourage new businesses to move to the city.
Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) has teamed up with Bradford Council to install and operate the new state-of-the-art cameras, replacing outdated and failing equipment.
Six new cameras have been placed at key locations and they have been linked with two existing footfall counters on the outside of The Broadway shopping centre to give a much clearer picture of how the city centre is faring as a shopping and leisure destination.
The data will also be available to the BID’s 630 levy-paying members, especially retailers, landlords and hospitality providers who will be able to use it to give valuable insight into sales performance and marketing needs.
Ian Ward, BID chairman and general manager of The Broadway, said: “Pedestrian footfall counts are absolutely vital to councils, city centre managers, event planners and all those businesses who strive to make a living in cities and towns across the country.
“Without being able to accurately measure where people are and when, we’re in the dark when it comes to planning how to provide the best experience for shoppers, those who seek to spend their leisure time here and other visitors.
“These new cameras will enable us see what’s happening on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis and compare that data over any of those periods.”
He said it would show how new developments affect people’s movements and assess the impact of events on bringing people into the city centre and creating new custom for retailers and others.
“Being able to see those trends accurately makes a huge difference to how we plan changes in the city centre and helps formulate important decisions on future improvements,” said Mr Ward.
“For many businesses, it can help them decide on such things as staffing levels at different times on different days, how much they spend on marketing and promoting and even how they use their window space.
“And it helps us attract new businesses by, for instance, showing them what the potential level of customers might be at their chosen location.”
Automatic pedestrian counting cameras were used across the world to provide the kind of information that companies demand before making investment decisions.
“The data they provide can make a real difference to the future of Bradford city centre; without it, it would be an awful lot harder to persuade companies to set up shop here, as it would anywhere,” he added. “These cameras will give us a real boost and ensure we’re on a level playing field with other cities when it comes to giving inward investors the information they need when it comes to choosing Bradford.”
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Bradford BID to replace and upgrade the old footfall system.
“The new cameras will provide highly accurate footfall information which will allow the Council and our partners to precisely assess efforts to improve the city centre and visitor numbers.
“This is a great example of the partnership working that having a BID can bring for the benefit of everyone who runs, works in or visits the city centre.”