Footfall - 237 'Vital and Viable' Factors

As part of our series on vital and viable high streets, the High Streets Task Force is presenting 'evidence on a page' summaries of over 200 factors that influence the success of high streets. Here we address footfall: footfall refers to the number of people walking up and down a given town centre (or single street). Footfall counting generates data and information about the way places are used over time and space, and their propensity for further development.

Date added 10 November 2021
Last updated 10 November 2021

Footfall has traditionally been linked to the level of attractiveness of a location, the ability to satisfy a catchment’s needs, and can also reveal gaps in terms of consumer behaviour and activities (Hart et al., 2014). As a measure of the actual day-to-day patterns of people, footfall highlights different forms of activity and allows us to explore the diversity of town centre uses and identify new classifications that depend on how these centres are actually used (Mumford et al., 2020). 

Footfall obtained from continuous footfall counting is an objective criterion by which place managers can sense-check the designation of centres in networks and hierarchies. Thus, it is important to prioritise footfall counting as a method that assists towards effective decision-making. 

Footfall is one of 237 factors that have been identified as influencing the vitality and viability of the high street.

For more information and further reading, download the pdf 'evidence on a page'. The page contains information about this factors place within the 237 factors identified and: whether it is a component factor of one of 25 'vital and viable' priorities; how the factor scores in terms of influence, place management control, and priority.

To read more about vital and viable high streets, see