The Adelaide City Council’s City User Profile Survey will be concerning reading for city businesses and jobseekers, as well as for the State Government which has focused heavily on its multi-billion-dollar “vibrant city” agenda.
In the survey of just over 2000 people in the CBD and North Adelaide earlier this year, 41% said they visit the city “daily/most days”.
That’s down from 50% last year and, according to previous survey statistics, the lowest in a decade.
The proportion of respondents who said they visit the city in the evening at least once a year was 46% – down from 76% in last year.
The proportion of respondents who said they shop in the city at least once a year was 72% – down from 87% last year.
Those who reported they visit the park lands at least once a year also fell: 34% this year, down from 57% last year – the lowest recorded figure since 2007.
The proportion who said they work in the city was 23% this year, down from 34% last year. The proportion who said they live in the city was 8% this year, down from 14%.
A spokesperson for the city council acknowledged that “there has been a decline in daily visitation to the city in the past 12 months”.
“Council continues to explore ways to boost the city’s attractiveness as a great work, study, tourism, dining, entertainment, retail and recreational destination,” the spokesperson said.
Further survey statistics provided by the council – but missing the years 2010, 2011 and 2014, when surveys weren’t taken – indicate that this year’s 41% figure was the lowest in a decade.
The City User Profile Survey, to be presented to an Adelaide City Council meeting tonight, does contain some small positives.
The proportion of respondents who said they were a tourist or visitor staying in short-term accommodation rose from 8% to 11%.
The proportion of university (or other tertiary) student respondents rose from 20% to 21%. And there were slightly more school student respondents (rising from 1% to 2%).
The tertiary and school student results fell between the 2.1% margin of error (+/-). The survey had a 95% confidence interval.
City of Adelaide Minister John Rau told InDaily the survey was “indicative of the changing face of the city”.
“The increasing education role of the city is the reflected in the numbers – as is the increasing role of the city as a major hospitality and entertainment area.
“These are both positive trends and indicate the Government’s policies are working to make the city vibrant.”
Asked why they were in the city on the day of the survey, more respondents than last year said they were in the city to meet friends, for education, to visit the park lands or for cultural events. But there was a significant decline in the proportion of those in the city for work or to visit cafés.
As InDaily reported in March, Adelaide city businesses employed 6437 fewer employees in 2016 than they did in 2014.
However, official estimates of the population of the City of Adelaide have climbed each year, reaching 23,396 in 2016.
City users abandoning cars for buses
The survey found city users were increasingly favouring buses over cars as a means to get into the city.
Asked how they travelled into the city the day of the survey, 34% reported they came in by bus – up from 29% the previous year.
By contrast, the proportion that drove into the city was 22% this year, down from 29% last year. However, the proportion that came into the city as a passenger in a car ticked up slightly.
According to the survey summary report, “this is a continuation of the trend found in past surveys around an increased trend for public transport use and away from private vehicle use”.
“Other modes of transport, such as walking and catching the tram or train, has remained constant over the past two years.”
However, the data in the report shows walking into the city has, in fact, become less popular.
Percentages were rounded in all graphs.
Help our journalists uncover the facts
In times like these InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia. As a news organisation it offers an alternative to The Advertiser, a different voice and a closer look at what is happening in our city and state for free. Any contribution to help fund our work is appreciated. Please click below to donate to InDaily.