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Putting Down Routes: New report provides blueprint for delivering Scottish ‘Active Freeway’ network

Published 07 October 2021 by Transform Scotland

Thursday 7 October 2021

PUTTING DOWN ROUTES: New report provides blueprint for delivering Scottish ‘Active Freeway’ network

Transform Scotland, the national sustainable transport alliance, has today (Thursday 7 October) published ‘Putting Down Routes’. Our new report builds upon the inclusion of Active Freeways within the Scottish Government and Scottish Greens’ shared programme for government. It provides a blueprint for developing a strategic network of Active Freeways across Scotland, and draws on UK and European experience to identify how the network can be successfully designed and implemented.

Report author Jolin Warren, and Transform Scotland spokesperson, said:

“Scotland urgently needs a network of active travel routes for local journeys. The Scottish Government’s proposed Active Freeway network is a good start but to provide the necessary change, it needs to be comprehensive, cover all of Scotland, and be built quickly.

“Scotland has struggled to meet its active travel targets, and this can largely be attributed to the lack of safe infrastructure. Therefore, the Active Freeway network must provide safe routes that connect communities with their places of work and education, local services, and leisure facilities. This will allow everyone to make short and medium everyday trips by walking, wheeling and cycling.”

The report examines the examples of two networks in Germany and Belgium that demonstrate what a comprehensive Active Freeway network can look like and how it can be developed. These examples could serve as inspiration for our own ambitions here in Scotland.

Scottish Government Minister for Active Travel, Patrick Harvie MSP, said:

“This report from Transform Scotland is very welcome, and we’ll be looking carefully at its recommendations as we work on the Strategic Transport Projects Review and our ongoing review of transport governance.

“Active Freeways were recommended in Phase 1 of Strategic Transport Projects Review and we have already committed £50 million to identify and build high quality inclusive and segregated cycling routes on main travel corridors to our city and town centres.

“Transform Scotland’s work, alongside other views, will help us decide how to take forward our commitments to make real progress on infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling.”

John Lauder, Deputy CEO, Sustrans and Executive Director, Scotland, said:

“Active Travel already greatly contributes to the nation’s health and wellbeing, to achieving our climate commitments, and to our economy. However, the lack of high quality active travel infrastructure in many communities prevents people from making their journeys by walking, wheeling, and cycling. Quality is not just about the number of routes.  These routes must be part of a continuous network that is easy to find, safe and supported by a wider network of quiet routes.  

“We were pleased that Active Freeways now have the strong backing of the Scottish Government, and that this has been accompanied by a commitment to invest in active travel at record levels. We look forward to working with local and national governments in moving forward the swift delivery of an Active Freeway network that will benefit the whole country.

“Sustrans Scotland welcomes the new report from Transform Scotland, which will certainly contribute to the formulation of what Active Freeways will look like and highlights the many benefits that they will bring.”



[1] Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland is the national alliance for sustainable transport, bringing together organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors. See <> for details.

[2] ‘Putting Down Routes’ report

Our new report recommends that Active Freeways:

* Be planned and built as a strategic network to current design standards, with Transport Scotland responsible for delivery.
* Be developed as an Active Freeway Programme by Transport Scotland, analogous to the roads programme, and be built and planned with urgency and commitment.
* Incorporate existing paths and routes where appropriate.
* Be provided with sufficient and secure funding for construction and maintenance.
* Be provided with a legal basis that ensures ongoing maintenance and adaptation of the network.
* Use consistent, unified signage, branding, and waymarking so it is easy to follow routes without pre-planning.