How To Measure Footfall Across Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

View of park in spring

What’s the best way of counting people across a large area such as an AONB?

Across a large area, it’s not cost effective to use expensive hardware such as cameras or sensors. The solution is to use GPS mobile phone data, which is gained from the majority of visitors. We can provide visitor numbers for country parks, urban parks, forest areas, woodland, grasslands, lakes, canal and river pathways and beaches.

Can we find out where our visitors come from?

Yes. Our data shows where in the UK your visitors have travelled from, their home postcode origin. This enables you to see if they are local, regional or national visitors. This is very useful information, helping to build up a true picture of your visitors needs and wants and assists in targeting social media, marketing and advertising to relevant catchment areas.

Can you measure the number of people to a specific area, such as a heritage site?

Yes. We have the ability to measure visitors to specific areas such as heritage sites which could assist with planning, resourcing and conservation.

Can you measure visitors to a small area such as a footpath?

Yes. We are able to track the movements of visitors to individual pathways and walkways.  

What other information can the visitor data sets show?

Our dashboards can show the number of unique visitors, their dwell time and movement flow of people. Many of our customers are also very interested in the data for car parks.

Can you track where people go within our AONB?

Yes, in our set up process, you provide us with a list of areas you wish to track. For example if you want to know if visitors to the hills also visit the local town or village, we can ensure that data is recorded.

For example, Malvern Hills District Council, a Place Informatics customer, has the ability to see how many people visit specific hills and the town centre. Our footfall dashboards also contain heatmaps and people density maps which show where people congregate, which can help with planning, signage and finding out the most used entrance and exit routes.

Do you supply socio-economic data?

Yes. As the home origins of visitors is known, our dashboard calculates the percentage of socio-economic grades (AB, C1, C2 and DE visitors), giving you an insight into the type of visitors your area attracts. This can be extremely useful in securing funding for AONB’s near to postcode areas which have high social deprivation. On the flip side, it’s useful in helping to target affluent catchment postcodes to bring high earners into areas which need an economic boost. The National Trust find this demographic data extremely useful for their objective of encouraging more people from lower socio-economic postcodes onto their sites.

Is using phone data GDPR compliant?

Yes, the information is provided by phone apps which people have given their consent for, with no personal identifiers.

How accurate is the data?

Place Informatics collects GPS data points from over 12 million phones, providing a robust sample size which is enough to provide a large enough sample size for accuracy – to ensure a confidence level or 95% – 99% in our data sets.

We have a lot of elderly visitors and children, will this technology be accurate?

Yes, each visitor comes from a home postcode, of which we know the age spread of the population. Our calculations process data using averages and probability – ensuring that these visitors are included in the figures.  

Why is visitor data so useful for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

  • To gain more insights into your current visitors – where they come from and where they go – to deliver a better experience for visitors
  • To understand customer behaviour – from large public areas to individual pathways – and for commercial outlets such as visitor’s centres and cafes.
  • Identify new target markets, plan appropriate activities and to highlight advertising opportunities
  • Assist with planning, resourcing and facilities management
  • Extremely persuasive when attracting funding for regeneration projects
  • To gain an understanding of how your interventions affect visitor footfall

To discuss the data needs for your Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty contact us on 0161 706 1343.

To book a walk-through of the footfall data that we currently have for your AONB (or any other green space), click here to add a meeting to our diary using the calendly link:


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