Huq launches real-time footfall measurement product to help local government save high street

Huq Industries, the footfall measurement expert, has launched a new product to help inform the key decisions that councils, BIDs and LEPs are facing now, regarding the future of our cities, towns and high streets, post lockdown. The zero-hardware measurement product comes to market at a time when councils are increasing their focus on tracking footfall across high-streets and town centres as part of the Re-opening High Streets Safely initiative from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

Huq’s Community Vision is an interactive product designed for Economic Development and Town Centre Managers and gives a highly accurate, real-time measure of footfall across high-streets and town centres. Community Vision is powered by Huq’s proprietary platform, built on its first party mobile location data, which makes it much more than a footfall monitor. Instead, it combines a range of mobility-led insights to support councils’ strategic decision-making. 

“The decisions that local councils make are coming under scrutiny like never before. The pre-pandemic playbook, local knowledge, and conventional footfall sensors fail to provide them with sufficient visibility on how their centres are being used. The pandemic has triggered so much volatility in the UK economy that there is a need for detailed, real-time data to support both short term and longer-term strategic decisions that are being made,” says Conrad Poulson, CEO at Huq.  

Poulson continues: “Local Authorities are under real pressure to make their areas attractive places for businesses, workers, retailers, shoppers, residents, tourists and others. Thinking about the kinds of businesses or other entities to bring into vacant units and what sort of high street to build post Covid means understanding the kinds of people who come to the local areas and what motivates them to do so.”  

Footfall data is just one aspect of Community Vision. It also provides measures of footfall density - where visitors cluster on the high-street – and live catchment area mapping. This allows local councils to make urgent decisions about Covid marshalls or safety signage as the UK’s high streets reopen for business, and learn about who is visiting their centres from where. For all outputs, socio-economic and demographic attributes are included to provide additional insight about human activity in UK towns and cities.  

For the time-poor Economic Development Manager or Town Centre Manager, Huq’s Community Vision has many advantages over existing footfall monitors: 

  • It requires no infrastructure and provides an instant measure of town centre usage for any part of the UK, capturing activity that other monitors can miss 
  • Because it requires no hardware such as cameras or sensors, there are no installation, maintenance or vandalism issues, nor issues with privacy as Huq’s data has full GDPR compliance built in 
  • It provides a rich view of local area activity, through features including footfall, density mapping, catchment area modelling, dwell-time analysis and demographic segmentation  
  • It offers economies of scale and budgetary advantages compared to hardware-reliant footfall monitors and can be instantly scaled to cover as many locations as required  
  • From the outset it offers years of historical daily data, so that daily/weekly/monthly and seasonal comparisons can be made 
  • It allows activity from any UK area to be compared to anywhere else, so that local councils can see how much/little Covid has impacted activity in their towns and cities compared to others  
  • All data is statistically back-tested and verified against authoritative external data sources including Google, Department for Transport and other datasets available from central government  
  • Huq is frequently used by leading media including the Financial Times and academia who rely on it as a credible, quality data source 

“The pandemic has triggered a bigger strategic conversation around building high streets and urban centres that are fit for society’s changing needs and behaviours, particularly around the appropriate mix of retail, work, health, education and leisure facilities. With this in mind, there is a growing awareness of the need to access deeper, richer data, going well beyond existing footfall monitors, to learn about the complex dynamics of our town/city centres and high streets.  We spotted the gap in the market for intelligent insight to inform such significant decisions, which is why we have developed Community Vision,” concludes Poulson.