£1m research partnership looks to uncover secret to busy Morley high street

Morley's Queen Street
Morley's Queen Street

Morley’s shopping footfall is to be monitored by researchers developing tools for town planners to revitalise declining high streets.

Bringing Big Data to Small Users is a two year research project to arm councils and retailers with data on how high streets are used.

Using state of the art motion capture cameras, the Manchester Metropolitan University, with a host of partners, will be monitoring seven areas for patterns of high street use.

Morley,Ayr, Ballymena, Bristol, Congleton, Holmfirth and Wrexham will have their foot traffic collected into a “footfall optimiser,” a centralised pool of detailed information that could significantly simplify work for planners.

MMU professor of marketing and retail enterprise Catherine Parker said:”It will mean that towns invest in the right type of activities to invest in their future success and so they do waste money and effort.

“We will build a foot fall profile and will know how the town should coordinate to help people make use of the town.

“There has been a lot of work in developing strategies for town centres, but there has been very little evidence collected for pedestrian schemes or rebranding that I am not convinced were the right schemes.

“I have been wary that there has not been local advice on how towns have been used.”

Ms Parker added partnership with towns like Morley showcased what collaborations can achieve.

She said:”This is such a big achievement and it will be put to good use.

“It is research that is not just going to just sit on a shelf.”