TRANSPORT: Pedestrianisation is good for trade

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High streets suffocated by competition from out-of-town superstores can expect business to pick up if traffic in town centres is restrained, according to a report published yesterday. The study, produced by Transport 2000 - an environmental lobby group - and chartered surveyor Donaldsons, shows that car-free zones, better public transport and parking restrictions can attract shoppers back.

The report highlights the effect these policies have had in York, where a combination of car-free streets in the city centre, speed management zones and spending on public transport have increased "foot-fall" by 100 per cent in a decade and led to an increase in retail sales.

"Shoppers respond to their environment," said Lynn Sloman, a spokeswoman for Transport 2000. "All the evidence shows that the best way to revive town centres is to restrain traffic and provide clean air free from exhaust fumes, as well as on-street facilities like benches, cafes and open spaces."