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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2016  /  July 2016  /  1,000 ‘smart’ sensors to monitor high street footfall

1,000 ‘smart’ sensors to monitor high street footfall

CDRC Launches ESRC project

1,000 ‘smart’ sensors to monitor high street footfall

The Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC), in collaboration with the Local Data Company (LDC), hosted the launch event for the SmartStreetSensor project in UCLGeography on 30 June 2016.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the project is the most comprehensive study so far of footfall patterns across Great Britain. Some 1,000 sensors will measure live footfall in 81 towns and cities across the country. The locations have been chosen to provide a wide geographical spread, various demographic profiles and a range of town centres. The project is supported by a number of retail partners, including Patisserie Valerie, Jack Wills and Aldi.

Under development for 18 months, the launch attracted significant publicity and was attended by representatives from across the retail, academic and media sectors. It began with an introduction by Professor Paul Longley, who directed attention to how our towns and cities are changing and why addressing this this is now a crucial part of the Big Data debate. Matthew Hopkinson, Director of the LDC, then discussed how the project aimed to have “real people delivering real data”, crucial to an evidence based analysis of footfall across Britain.

CDRC researchers Jens Kandt and Roberto Murcio, with Phd student Bala Soundararaj, gave a final presentation, explaining how they would conduct the research, the challenges the project may face and how they aim to overcome them.

The meeting closed with a spirited question and answer session, particularly about who stands to benefit from the types of data generated, and how.

Photograph: Bala Soundarara, Jens Kandt, Matthew Hopkinson, Paul Longley and Roberto Murcio


For a full account of the project, how it will work and why it is being pursued – access our joint press release.

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