Exploring Parks Usage Through Footfall & Dwell-time Data | Part 1

Mobility data insights in practice: what footfall and dwell-time can tell you about usage of your parks and green spaces during the pandemic.

We are lucky to enjoy a wide range of parks and open spaces in the UK, many run by local authorities with an obligation to make the best use of public funding.

But how do councils monitor whether and how people use these places? How can council teams responsible for setting budgets, fixing KPIs and attracting grant funding prove that their parks have a real impact on their communities?

CommunityVision® provides actionable evidence

Huq’s ‘Report on Parks & Open Spaces through the Pandemic’ shows how actionable mobility data insights provide the evidence councils need to analyse changes in the use of outdoor spaces during two years of coronavirus restrictions, and the trends that may shape future use.

In Part One of this blog we’ll look briefly at this example of how looking back at key metrics such as footfall and dwell-time can support future decision-making. To download the full Parks Report click here.

Access historic mobility data (since 2019)

Since Huq’s CommunityVision® platform provides instant access to both real-time and historic data from the start, you can instantly compare and track changes over time and between your chosen places. This means you can select insights that match your goals – for this Parks Report, Huq looked specifically at the impacts of the pandemic on the way people used outdoor spaces throughout 2020 and 2021.

Using footfall to measure visits to council parks

Mobility data supports a wide range of outputs, all of which can be accessed instantly through CommunityVision® modules and brought to life through charts, maps and more. The Parks Report uses footfall and other mobility data to demonstrate how visits to parks and open spaces fluctuated according to the different phases of the pandemic.


Parks & Open Spaces Footfall through the Pandemic
© 2022 Huq Industries Limited


This graph shows clearly the way people reacted to lockdowns and continuing restrictions. Footfall plummeted from the pre-pandemic ‘normal’ (shown as 100) and can be mapped against known dates to demonstrate the direct impact of national measures to limit infection.

Huq’s study shows, for example, that footfall declined sharply at the first lockdown (down 40%) but recovered between June 14 and July 12, as the first lockdown ended, to within 5 points of previous levels. By analysing and interrogating the data to meet its goals the team behind the Parks Report is able better to understand how people behaved and make evidence-based predictions for the future.

Download the ebook Parks & Open Spaces Through the Pandemic for a detailed and informative look at how the UK’s parks and open spaces performed through the pandemic and until today.

Using dwell-time to find out how people use green spaces

Dwell-time measures the average duration of visits, a powerful measure of how important visits are to parks users. Huq’s Parks Report looks at whether the pandemic made any difference to the length of time people spent outdoors. The longer visitors stay, the more they do there and the greater the benefit to them – a key measure of whether the council’s provision of open spaces is serving its purpose.

The Parks Report found that dwell-time in open spaces went up significantly at key times during the two years under investigation. The duration of the average visit increased by over 40% during the first lockdown, and peaked again to 31% during the second. This trend continued to the end of 2020 year, averaging 16% over 2019 levels through to 2021.

Dwell-time can effectively be combined with other mobility data to yield deeper insights into how people use places – we will look at this further in Part Two of our blog on how mobility data from CommunityVision® can be used in practice.

Do you work in local government?

Find out how you can build better communities using mobility data to make decisions. CommunityVision®, Huq’s leading product for local government teams, offers real-time and easy-to-use insights on how people use your towns.

Find out how we can help