In the world of Business Improvement Districts, using data to measure and demonstrate impact is becoming more important than ever. That was why I really enjoyed Gemma Noble’s presentation at IDA today. Gemma is with Springboard, a leading provider of visitor/pedestrian counts. Not every BID collects ped counts, and when they do, they hire a planning or transportation firm who puts a guy with clicker on a corner. As our world becomes more automated, this is increasingly an antiquated way to measure the impact of programming, and certainly less valuable than being able to measure pedestrian traffic on a 24-hour basis.
I enjoyed seeing the different ways in which ped counts were used…some of the more interesting examples included:
- using the data to demonstrate to city officials that high ped counts during a major holiday warranted additional security.
- using the data to determine whether an event was successful or not – because you have the counts to prove it!
- being able to measure the impact – before and after – of significant public realm improvements
- being able to compare pedestrian counts against the sale of retailers in your district – and demonstrate to businesses the fact that your events and activities are directly correlated to their sales
Being able to tell the world you are doing a good job reinforces the value of your BID, supports your request for additional resources to make more impact, and helps build employee morale and motivation. A win-win for all.