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Welcome steps on active travel, but much more to be done to meet targets

Published 31 October 2017 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland has issued a briefing ahead of today’s parliamentary debate on active travel in Scotland.

The briefing welcomes the Scottish Government’s announcement of increased funding for walking and cycling from £39 million to £80 million from 2018/19. However, a number of serious issues are highlighted, including the failure to increase cycling rates. Currently only 1% of journeys made by bike [1] – far short of the Government’s target of 10% 2020.

Despite the increase in investment, the budget for walking and cycling remains at less than 4% of the total transport budget, and is a fraction of the £1 billion budget for roads.

The active travel budget is also significantly less than the proposed £300 million ADT tax cut for the aviation industry. The briefing encourages the Scottish Government to use this money more effectively by investing in walking, cycling and public transport in order to meet their aims and targets on sustainable transport, climate change and equalities.

The following recommendations are made:

  • By 2020, each of Scotland’s seven cities should have in place at least one high-quality, segregated route on a key commuter road. By 2030, all main roads should have cycle facilities matching the best in Europe.
  • A new default 20mph urban speed limit should be introduced
  • Legislate for Workplace Parking Levies in the Transport Bill to make walking and cycling the most attractive options for travel in cities


Jamie Wylie, Policy and Communication Officer at Transform Scotland, said:

The Government’s commitment to double the active travel budget to £80 million from 2018/19 is very welcome. With strong leadership at the local level, and a commitment to continuing this investment over the coming years, this will help to develop quality walking and cycling infrastructure in Scotland.

 “Whilst the doubling of the active travel budget is obviously great news, it remains a fraction of the transport budget as a whole. If the Scottish Government are to meet their target for 10% of journeys to be made by bike by 2020, there needs to be serious consideration given to increasing the walking and cycling budget further in the future.

On the need to make towns and cities designed for active travel, Jamie Wylie said:

If the Government are serious about tackling Scotland’s public health crisis, tackling illegal air pollution and cutting transport emissions, there needs to be more effort to make walking and cycling the most attractive options for travel in urban areas.

“The Government’s commitment to Low Emission Zones is welcome, but to make active travel the easiest and safest way to get around, further measures are required. Workplace Parking Levies have already been included in the Climate Change Plan as a means of cutting car numbers in cities; the Government should now legislate for Workplace Parking Levies in the Transport Bill.”

The briefing can be found here.


[1] Office for National Statistics. Transport and Travel in Scotland 2016. Available at: