Sell Campaign 1: Working With Retailers And Services Along The Cycle Highway

  1. Plan
  2. Design and Build
  3. Sell
  4. Evaluate

Background and Aim

This campaign was developed to show the vibrancy of life around cycle highways and how cyclists are beneficial to retail and services. The aim is to increase the public’s general awareness of the cycle highway and in particular for it to be considered as the route to take for shopping or accessing local services such as health and leisure centres, colleges, workplaces and other destinations.

Target audience

Primary audience: Retailers and services along the route.

Secondary audience: Public/users of cycle highway: commuters, shoppers and leisure users.

Plan of Action

Two women outside cafe with Pedal Perks promotion sticker Sustrans promoting Pedal Perks cyclist loyalty scheme to a cafe in Comber, Co Down near cycle highway

Step 1: Map the area

  • Take the cycle highway corridor and plot all services and retailers.
  • Develop a map of the cycle highway, access points, services and retailers and main workplaces.
  • Develop an information leaflet about CHIPS including benefits of increased use of the cycle highway. [see evidence base below]

Step 2: Engagement

From the mapping exercise identify most appropriate retailers to try and engage with. For example, those who would have the most practical link for cycling to retailers.

  • Use map of the cycle highway and information leaflet about CHIPS to introduce the scheme to identified retailers 
  • Include an explanation of the scheme and synopsis of benefits or advantages for the retailer/services and encourage participation.
    • Encourages people to use the bicycle for local transport
    • Encourages use of local retailers and services
    • Encourages positive publicity of retailers and services
    • Encourages community atmosphere
    • Less congestion
    • Encourages spend/regular spend at retailers/services from local users
    • Encourages spend from visiting users e.g. cycle tourists, visitors. [See evidence base for further details.]

Step 3: Delivery

  • Gather and develop maps, leaflets and promotional information including online about the Cycle Highway and local area.  
  • Gain commitment from a number of retailers to take part in cycle-friendly scheme. 
  • Develop an agreed working model for the Reward/incentive scheme in partnership with retailers and services based near or close to the Greenway/Cycle Highway for those on bicycles and using the greenway.  
  • Consider developing promotional resources such as touch points e.g. window sticker/poster.
  • Consider ‘stamp style’ loyalty cards.
  • Develop and share map of greenway with retailers and services and the main employers marked on it.

Step 4: Promotion

  • Consider promotion of retail areas through way-marking and signage of areas on maps and at access points to/from the cycle highway and through social media.
  • Promote retail areas and the scheme through maps and signs at workplaces.
  • Promotion of information and maps as well as ‘live’ activities e.g. via websites and other online services – social media posts, pictures and comments from scheme ‘users’.
  • Promotion of benefits of cycling to encourage people to use the cycle highway and cycling for commuting but also shorter, local journeys. This will include emphasising the benefits to them:
    • Cleaner air
    • Savings = time and money (no parking costs, less congestion, quick trip, or shop on the way home)
    • Supporting local community
    • Health impact of even as much as 5-10 minutes exercise
    • Fun
    • Family/group aspect (e.g. Saturday coffee meeting)

This scheme can be flexible. It will be up to the individual retailer or service as to what they will offer within the scheme and how the rewards or incentives will be logged.

Step 5: Infrastructure

Discussion with retailers/services around soft infrastructure such as cycle parking and access at key locations, identifying need and possible funding options.


  • Feedback from retailers and services along route who have offered a cycling incentive
  • Feedback from those engaged or involved in some aspect of the scheme
  • Feedback from retailers – including numbers continuing in the scheme
  • Assess numbers of cyclists using the cycle highway – make comparison before and after the scheme.


Minimum three months but preferably to run alongside the rest of the campaigns for two years.  

Develop evidence base for retailers/services

In order to engage retailers, this campaign will need to show retailers that making provision for people travelling on foot and by bike can increase customers, turnover and profit. In particular, the campaign will need to address commonly held views that most customers arrive by car. There is a wide range of evidence that shows the value to retailers and services of encouraging walking and cycling. Retailers commonly overestimate the number of people that travel by car. Sustrans carried out surveys of shoppers in Bristol, Swansea and Newcastle and found that less than a third of shoppers arrived by car.

People, not cars, spend money

Furthermore, people travelling on foot, by bike and using public transport tend to spend more money over a month. Car drivers may spend more in one trip but other users tend to shop more often and spend more money. Transport for London, the Cycling Embassy of Denmark and many others have also found the same thing. This is particularly true in pedestrianised and traffic-calmed areas.

Provision of cycle parking delivers five times more retail spend

A study by the UK government found that cycle parking delivers five times higher retail spend than the same area of car parking per square metre.

20% Increase in turnover

After York City Centre was pedestrianised, Marks and Spencer’s turnover had increased by excess of 20%. People in pedestrianised areas have more time to stop, look and spend without the hassle of navigating busy roads and worrying about traffic.

49% Increase in Sales

The creation of 30 miles of protected bike lanes in New York City not only massively increased cycling levels but led to a 49% increase in retail sales.

Case studies

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Pedal Perks cycle loyalty scheme in Belfast. In June 2017 Sustrans launched a new cyclist loyalty scheme called Pedal Perks to encourage more people to cycle to local shops and cafes. Businesses were encouraged to sign up for the scheme by displaying an eye-catching Pedal Perks logo in their window. As it was an untested scheme businesses were allowed to decide what discount/incentive they wished to offer customers. Sustrans then promoted these discounts on social media, leaflets and through the 10,000 commuters it engaged with as part of the CHIPS project.

Tilburg, Netherlands

A website and map to facilitate cycling in the region of the cycle highway was created. The map was designed with related services/attractive points along the cycle highway. There was a collaboration of cycle rent companies to increase cycle use for short stay. This collaboration is a regional approach to make cycling more attractive for leisure and tourism.

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