Recent studies over the last ten years conducted by organizations such as the Urban Land Institute, the California Department of Health Services, and the National Association of Local Government Environment Professionals, amongst others, have all pointed to key economic benefits for businesses and individuals co-existing in walkable communities and pedestrian friendly town centers.
Case studies completed by these organizations have included newly developed walk able communities as well as urban town centers that have experienced an overhaul or transformation to become more pedestrian-friendly. Overall the studies have indicated the following trends and benefits:
Walkability Can Increase Property Values
Future expectations are that real estate values will rise faster in communities that combine residential and commercial interests in a pedestrian-friendly way. Reduced noise from traffic, reduced traffic flow on residential streets and improved air quality from lower car emissions can all significantly affect property values. One study showed that the impact could improve values up to 18%.
Businesses Are Increasingly Seeing the Value of Moving out of Congested Town Centers
There is a growing trend for businesses to move away from grid-locked town centers with bad parking and accessibility. By living and working in the same small community, business owners can avoid wasting time and money on commuting and excessive fuel costs, and attract employees who can enjoy the same benefits. Plus, businesses operating in a pedestrian-friendly environment with restaurants, cafes and other businesses in close proximity to each other enjoy a lively, daily networking and social environment that attracts more business to them.
Pedestrian-Friendly Stores Attract Tourists
Tourists enjoy the charm and character of smaller, human-scale retail centers. Those that offer a successful mix of restaurants, relaxation and retail were more popular with visitors.
Walkability is Good for Retail Sales
If the shopping experience is easy and pedestrian friendly, the shopper can slow down and enjoy the experience, and he or she is more likely to spend more time and money, and visit again.
In conclusion, they build a clear connection between pedestrian-centered communities and economic benefits for both the people who live in them and the businesses who serve them.