Friday, October 2, 2015

Measuring Impact through Pedestrian Counts

Imagine if you went through school without a getting grades or even feedback on your work? How would you know when you needed to work harder, or smarter, to do better?

In the world of Business Improvement Districts, using data to measure and demonstrate impact is becoming more important than ever. That was why I really enjoyed Gemma Noble's presentation at IDA today. Gemma is with Springboard, a leading provider of visitor/pedestrian counts. Not every BID collects ped counts, and when they do, they hire a planning or transportation firm who puts a guy with clicker on a corner. As our world becomes more automated, this is increasingly an antiquated way to measure the impact of programming, and certainly less valuable than being able to measure pedestrian traffic on a 24-hour basis.

I enjoyed seeing the different ways in which ped counts were used...some of the more interesting examples included:
  • using the data to demonstrate to city officials that high ped counts during a major holiday warranted additional security. 
  • using the data to determine whether an event was successful or not - because you have the counts to prove it!
  • being able to measure the impact - before and after - of significant public realm improvements
  • being able to compare pedestrian counts against the sale of retailers in your district - and demonstrate to businesses the fact that your events and activities are directly correlated to their sales
Being able to tell the world you are doing a good job reinforces the value of your BID, supports your request for additional resources to make more impact, and helps build employee morale and motivation. A win-win for all.

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