Study considers role of retail transport

Travel for shopping is growing faster than any other type of travel, research by the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) has discovered.

A report on the future of retail transport argues that travel is becoming more important for competitiveness. Accessibility, efficiency, flexibility and information will increasingly define good retail transport, the BCSC found.

Car travel accounts for 60 per cent of shopping trips, the research found.

Walking to shops has become less common but more than a quarter of shoppers are pedestrians, the report says.

Transport already accounts for more than 15 per cent of household spending.

The BCSC predicts that this will increase as fuel, fares and labour become more expensive. As a result, retailers themselves will become more involved in selling and managing access to transport services, the body believes.

It suggests that retailers might pay for customer parking or bulk-buy public transport tickets to ensure better-value travel for customers and staff.

"The transport changes identified in our report will be particularly critical for the future of secondary urban centres, free-standing towns, suburban and local centres and retail parks," claimed Derek Halden of Derek Halden Consultancy, which conducted the research.

"Many of these locations will remain viable despite transport changes but others will not," Halden warned.

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