Launching ground breaking research findings that identify “town centre signatures”

The official launch of new town and city centre footfall signature types identified in the Innovate funded 'Big Data Small Users' project will take place at a free half-day conference on the 26th July in Manchester.

We are pleased to announce that Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, will be joining us to share his views on the importance of the high street - and how he is stimulating high streets around Greater Manchester through his Town Centre Challenge.

With nearly £1 million worth of Innovate funding, two years of ground breaking research into Springboard’s footfall data by Manchester Metropolitan and Cardiff Universities has identified that towns have different “signatures” which reflect how they are used by visitors, revolutionising the retail hierarchy in the UK.

According to this new research only 25% of centres are primarily comparison shopping destinations, and so gone are the days when decisions should be made solely on the basis a town/city’s current retail offer and scale.

Instead, decisions based on how a town/city is used deliver more informed and collaborative decisions, ensuring that high streets thrive amidst the new retail landscape. 

These important findings are now ready to be shared with up to 200 place makers and industry leaders.  You will hear from The Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, Springboard and some of the pilot towns we have been working with. Plus there will be an opportunity to find out more about the new decision-making tools that are being developed by MyKnowledgeMap as part of this exciting project.

If you are interesting in attending then please book using hte link below

Free tickets are now available 

Click here to book your tickets 

Event Schedule:

9.30 - 10.00 

Coffee and registration



Professor Steve Miles – Manchester Metropolitan University


The Importance Of Our High Streets

Andy Burham, Mayor of Greater Manchester


#BDSU Project Overview

Diane Wehrle – Marketing & Insights Director, Springboard Research

Springboard & Manchester Metropolitan University has led a ground breaking two-year project to future proof town centres, backed by £1 million funding from Innovate, the government’s Innovation Agency. The purpose of the project is to better understand how town centres are used, in order to maximise their trading potential and to co-exist profitably with online retailing and thrive in the age of the internet. 


The New Signatures & Dashboard

Professor Cathy Parker - Institute of Place Management / MMU

Dr. Christine Mumford – Cardiff University

Manchester Metropolitan and Cardiff Universities have interrogated Springboard’s footfall data taken from high streets across the UK to understand the usage of towns and cities, and have identified that towns have different “signatures” which reflect that towns are used differently by visitors. Cathy and Christine will introduce these signatures for the first time.




Dashboard Demonstration

Adam Doyle, Managing Director, MyknowledgeMap

Jon Burnett – National High Street Account Manager, Springboard

The new interactive dashboard, developed by MyKnowledgeMap, will allow users to view their footfall volumes against their main signature type and locations of a similar profile. Event monitoring, long term trend analysis and data export are the key functions that have been developed in conjunction with partners to show place makers how the dashboard can be used to make informed decisions and share best practice.


Showing The Future

Cathy Parker – Institute of Place Management / MMU

A unique function of the research and dashboard is the ability to forecast footfall levels. Learn how place makers can use this for future planning.


Priority Interventions for Towns & Cities

Simon Quin – Director, Institute of Place Management

#BDSU builds on work already undertaken in the High Street UK 2020 project which identified 201 factors from the academic literature and feedback from 10 partner towns that have an impact on town centre vitality and viability. The new dashboard will assist place makers in addressing some of the 25 most significant factors in terms of impacting town centre health and being subject to local initiation or control.


Next Steps

Diane Wehrle – Marketing & Insights Director, Springboard Research

As the #BDSU project draws to an end what’s next and how will the 4 signatures be put into the mainstream of place making policy and everyday operations? How can place makers make best use of the dashboard moving forward and ongoing development in the months to follow?


Golden Envelopes - The Big Reveal

The moment that all Springboard footfall clients who have over 12 months of footfall data will be the first to find out their location’s signature type. 




Town Signature Workshops

Those who have received their location signature will break out into workshops to better understand what these signatures mean for their locations and ways to collaborate with their peer group to share best practice.