18 December 2015
Ever wanted to find out how busy town is before heading in to do a spot of Christmas shopping? Now you can find out thanks to a new pedestrian counting tool installed in Taupo’s CBD.
A trial pedestrian counting device has been installed on a building in Heuheu Street as part of a joint initiative between Taupo District Council and Towncentre Taupo. It uses a camera to gather real time data on pedestrian traffic numbers which is then fed back and displayed on the council’s website. The information can then be used to inform a number of choices for shoppers, retailers and investors including when to shop and how long retailers should be open for to maximise their earning potential.
Taupo District Council’s business development and improvement group manager Will Samuel said pedestrian counters offered a number of benefits including allowing retailers to optimise their opening hours, better customise staffing levels and assess the effects of change over time. “The first device demonstrates what is possible with this technology and we hope to see more use of these devices in the future,” he said.
From a council perspective it was also a useful tool to see how foot traffic increased during key event weekends.
“On the Saturday of the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, nearly 9,000 people were counted passing the location, which is nearly double the number the Saturday before,” said Mr Samuels. “We all know events bring people to town but this will help us gauge how many of them are spending time in the CBD,” he said.
Mayor David Trewavas said the counting device was just one of a number of tools the council was implementing to encourage economic development in the district. “Along with Towncentre Taupo, we want to do what we can to support our local retail community in maximising their returns as well as encouraging new businesses to come here,” he said.
Towncentre Taupo chairman Chris Johnston said it was great to be working alongside a progressive council that embraced modern technology. “By using the meter eye system to maintain free parking, we can integrate that data with the new pedestrian counting and retail spending information to give valuable information to our retail sector,” he said.
Pedestrian counting also provided important information from a valuation perspective. Alex Keys of Truss and Keys Valuers Limited said understanding the pedestrian flow and trends within the town centre could be a key determinant for retailers seeking locations with pedestrian flows that suit their particular business model.
“Retailers in general would expect to do better in areas with a higher pedestrian flow and may compete for these locations, while building owners may seek higher rents for these locations this would have to be supported by stronger demand,” said Mr Keys. “Pedestrian flows have changed over time and this information allows retailers to change and adapt as the Taupo town centre changes,” he said.
The counting tool was installed in November and will be trialled for a year. Towncentre Taupo and pedestrian counting supplier, Bellwether, will be running workshops for retailers after the busy summer period to show how the technology and data could benefit their business or street.
To access the real time data visit www.taupo.govt.nz/pedestrian-counting.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lisa Nairne • Communications Manager • 07 376 0762 • 027 839 8410
Vicki Waterhouse • Communications Advisor • 07 376 0718 • 027 484 2549
Taupō District Council