Shopping centre siting and modal choice in Belgium : a destination-based analysisShopping centre siting and modal choice in Belgium : a destination-based analysis
Faculty of Design Sciences
Research Group for Urban Development
Engineering sciences. Technology
European Planning Studies
(2014), p. 1-17
Although modal split is only one of the elements considered in decision-making on new shopping malls, it remarkably often arises in the arguments of both proponents and opponents. Today, this is also the case in the debate on the planned development of three major shopping malls in Belgium. Inspired by such debates, the present study focuses on the impact of the location of shopping centres on the travel mode choice of the customers. Our hypothesis is that destination-based variables such as embeddedness in the urban fabric, accessibility and mall size influence the travel mode choice of the visitors. Based on modal split data and location characteristics of 17 existing shopping centres in Belgium, we develop a model for a more sustainable siting policy. The results show a major influence of the location of the shopping centre in relation to the urban form, and of the size of the mall. Shopping centres that are part of a dense urban fabric, measured through population density, are less car dependent. Smaller sites will attract more cyclists and pedestrians. Interestingly, our results deviate significantly from the figures that have been put forward in public debates on the shopping mall issue in Belgium.