A walking route connecting the centre of the city to the main transport hubs has increased foot traffic, reduced congestion and improved safety.
Coventry had a problem with falling footfall and a limited night time economy in the centre. It was surrounded by a ring road that could by crossed through a complicated underpass system and bisected by a public transport system that cut historic parts of the city from the commercial centre causing economic dead spots.
Working in stages the city has opened up the centre and connected it to the major public transport hubs with a wide Boulevard system. In strategic locations the underpass system has been closed and new access has been provided at a level, over the ring road.
A number of city centre access roads have been closed or transitioned to shared space roadways in which pedestrians have priority.
It is now possible for pedestrians and vulnerable people like wheelchairs users and the visually impaired to access the centre using peasant graded pathways and with priority over the small amount of traffic still present.
The centre of the city is now an openly accessible public realm. For the first time there is a waiting list to open new entertainment in the city and safety has been improved.
There will be further developments with Coventry planning around being City of Culture in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022

Resources needed

The project has been carried out in stages, each of about €28M. The Olympic Legacy funding providing the impetus to start the process. In total about €65M has been invested with more excepted in the future.
Funding sources include ERDF/ESIF, other European projects and national funding.

Evidence of success

Since starting this process there have been positive effects on both he day and night time economy of the city, with measured footfall improved. An average of 3 Traffic injuries p.a. in the centre has fallen to 0 over the past 4 years.
Congestion in the centre is significantly reduced

Potential for learning or transfer

Congestion in major cities is increasing. Most cities have similar issues to Coventry and it is becoming an imperative to make city centres more attractive to the people, especially as increased competition from internet shopping is driving down footfall for retail businesses.
Improving the night time economy of the city has offset the decline of the retail trade and increased footfall is putting Coventry in a strong position in competing for footfall with other local urban areas.
Coventry has, as a result of his work become a n attractive place for organisations who have innovative ideas and technologies, earning it a reputation as a SMART city living lab.

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Project
Main institution
Coventry University Enterprises Ltd
Location
West Midlands,
Start Date
March 2020
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

Tess Lukehurst Please login to contact the author.