Categories
ConstructiveConversations Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

Coming Up: Creating Climate Neutral Towns and Cities

The Climate Emergency & Infrastructure Constructive Conversations – 14 March 2024.

In this session the focus is on creating climate neutral towns and cities. We’ll discuss plans to achieve net zero, and the part that active travel infrastructure can play in this goal. From climate action towns and networks, to net zero cities we will explore what this means for those of us working to deliver infrastructure to people living in communities to help bring this about.

Our expert panel will spend half an hour discussing these questions and more. Following the panel discussion we will take a short break, and then invite participants to take part in small group discussions.

A recording of the discussion will be added here after the session, so you will be able to catch up if you miss the live session.

Further Information

The panelists for this session are:

  • Thomas Haddock, Head of Operations, NetZeroCities
  • More panellists to be announced soon

Useful Links

Links to further information and resources that come up in the discussion will be added here following the session, so do check back if you want to find out more about this topic.

About Constructive conversations

Grab a cuppa, get comfortable and join us for some informal constructive conversations about some of the challenges in delivering active travel infrastructure.

At each 1 hour session, our expert panel will spend half an hour discussing key questions and more around the chosen topic. Following this, you can take part in an optional small group discussion where you can share your own experiences on the topic, present a related issue in a live project, and receive advice and feedback from peers.

Other sessions

The ‘Climate Emergency and Infrastructure series’ of constructive conversations explores sustainability in construction of active travel projects.

The ‘By Design’ series of constructive conversations explores how urban design in active travel projects can help to address some of the big issues facing society today.

Look out for more series on different topics in future, and if there is a topic you would like to suggest for a series, or a standalone session, please do get in touch with us placesforeveryone@sustrans.org.uk.

Categories
Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

Coming up on 27 March: 2023 Year in Review Event


Presented by Sustrans Scotland, through the Engage Inspire Learn training and events programme, we invite you to join us for our end of year event – a time to reflect, review and celebrate a range of exemplar active travel project work carried out in 2023.

We’ll bring together Places for Everyone, Co-Design and National Cycle Network partners and active travel professionals from across Scotland to Dundee for a full day of learning through case studies, workshops and networking. This hybrid event will spotlight active travel projects that are complete or near completion. A focus on exemplar project work, spotlighting successes and networking will inspire you to apply learnings to your own projects that make it easier for everyone to walk, wheel and cycle.

We appreciate it’s a busy time, but we would encourage you to put some time aside to reflect on the year that has passed, and join us for this celebratory event.

Attend the event in-person at the V&A Dundee or virtually. Presentations will be livestreamed (due to their nature, workshops and group discussions won’t). When you register, you can choose if you would like to attend in-person or virtually.

Registration is free and closes on 25 March at 9am.


Agenda at a glance

Agenda is subject to change. * Indicates session will be livestreamed.

🎟️ 09:30 – 10:00 – Arrival and Check-In

Collect your badge and enjoy a coffee.

🎤 10:00 – 10:20 – Welcome and Keynote Address*

Presented by Karen McGregor, Scotland Director at Sustrans.

💡 10:20 – 11:20 – Project Presentations and Q&A*

Hear from those whose active travel projects are complete or near completion. Learn about their experiences including what went well and what they are proud of.

☕ 11:20 – 11:30 – Break
💡 11:30 – 12:30 – The Recipe for Success: Roundtable Discussions

Learn hints and tips from active travel project partners and project leads who have been there and done it. In these informal discussions hosted by those leading projects, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in small group discussions and ask questions.

🍽️ 12:30 – 13:15 – Lunch

A fully vegetarian lunch will be served.

🎤 13:15 – 15:00 – Community Engagement: Using a Model Design Kit

Learn about Sustrans’ model design kit and how it can benefit your projects. We’ll hear from Glasgow City Council who will share their experience of using the design kit in community engagement activities towards the design journey. There will also be time to interact with the kit and ask questions informally.

💡 13:15 – 15:00 – Walking Tour of Union Street, Dundee

Join the project team for a walking tour of the nearby Union Street. Hear about how this project aims to deliver a new transformative street infrastructure through a community co-design process, led by professional designers in collaboration with partners and the community.

☕ 15:00 – 15:15 – Break
💡 15:15 – 16:15 – Vision 2030 Workshop

This visioning workshop will take us into the future of 2030 – where communities are shaped around people, and walking and cycling are the most popular choices for shorter everyday journeys. Thinking about the successful projects we have reflected on earlier in the day, this session will take an imaginative look at what project deliverables look like in 2030, what success means in active travel projects, and what actions were needed to make these a reality.

🎤 16:15 – 16:30 – Reflections and Closing

Reflect on the day’s learnings and takeaways.

Categories
ConstructiveConversations Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

Constructive Conversations – The Climate Emergency & Infrastructure collection

Overview

Grab a cuppa, get comfortable and join us for some informal constructive conversations about sustainability in delivering active travel infrastructure.

At each 1 hour session, our expert panel will spend half an hour discussing key questions and more around these topics. Following this, you can take part in an optional small group discussion where you can share your own experiences on the topic, present a related issue in a live project, and receive advice and feedback from peers.

Upcoming sessions

  • The Climate Emergency & Procurement – April date to be announced

To find out more about the sessions, panellists and to book your space, click the ‘Register here’ button below.

Look out for other constructive conversation series on different themes going forward.

Categories
Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

CDM Guidance for Community Partners – An Introduction

Overview

We invited Places for Everyone community partners to join us for this presentation outlining the CDM requirements for Places for Everyone projects, focusing on the stages 0-2.

The presentation provides some background into the CDM regulations and gives details of the (sometimes overlooked) CDM duties at stages 0-2. Information is also provided on how this relates to the Places for Everyone processes and detailing the support that is available.

Presentation recording

Kieran Ward, Construction (CDM) Manager, and Darren McHattie, Capital and Technical Advisor at Sustrans, take us through the presentation.

Presentation slides

You can download a copy of the presentation here.

Competency Assessment

A short and optional questionnaire is available to community partners to help establish how confident you feel with regards to CDM regulations. This assessment is no longer mandatory.

Helpful resources

Health and Safety Executive: Summary of duties under Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

The Basics of CDM Regulations 2015 (video)

Categories
ConstructiveConversations Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

Constructive Conversations – By Design Collection

Overview

Grab a cuppa, get comfortable and join us for some informal constructive conversations about some of the challenges in delivering active travel infrastructure.

This series of constructive conversations will explore how some of the big issues facing society today can be addressed ‘By Design’.

At each 1 hour session, our expert panel will spend half an hour discussing key questions and more around these topics. Following this, you can take part in an optional small group discussion where you can share your own experiences on the topic, present a related issue in a live project, and receive advice and feedback from peers.

Upcoming sessions

To find out more about individual sessions and panellists click the links below.

To be taken directly to the eventbrite collection page to view information and to book your space on any of the sessions, click the ‘Register here’ button below.

Look out for other constructive conversation series on different themes going forward.

Past session recordings and information

Categories
Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

Engagement Workshop series, autumn 2023

Throughout the autumn, we ran a series of engagement workshops for Places for Everyone Partners. Each 2-hour workshop covered a different element of the engagement process, including:

  • Stakeholder Mapping for Active Travel (20 September, 10am-12 noon)
  • Engagement Planning (27 September, 10am-12 noon)
  • Equality Impact Assessments (4 October, 10am-12 noon)
  • Behaviour Change for Places for Everyone projects (25 October, 10am-12 noon)
  • Effective Communications Plans (1 November, 10am-12 noon)
  • Building Engagement Teams and Steering Groups (8 November, 10am-12 noon)

This series of workshops is now finished, but we plan to deliver them again at a later date.

This event is part of the Places for Everyone training and events programme – Engage · Inspire · Learn.

Past events

Stakeholder Mapping for Active Travel

20 September, 10am-12noon

We invite Places for Everyone partners to join us to find out more about the stakeholder mapping process in relation to Places for Everyone (PfE) projects.

The stakeholder map forms the foundation for your project and sets the scene for effective community engagement. This workshop aims to:

  • provide context to the PfE engagement deliverables required at stage 0-2
  • increase your confidence in identifing key project stakeholders
  • introduce participants to the Sustrans Stakeholder Matrix template
  • highlight the connections between this work and the EQIA process
  • provide examples of best practice in stakeholder mapping

This is an interactive workshop with plenty of time for discussion. If possible, please come to the session with information on your particular project – a basic outline, a map of the area, key places nearby such as shops, schools etc. This will be of use when we do an exercise in stakeholder mapping in the second half of the workshop. The Engagement Team from Places for Everyone will also be on hand to offer advice and answer any of your engagement related queries.

Engagement Planning – the core of engaging with your community

20 September, 10am-12noon

Community Engagement Planning is a key deliverable in PfE. This workshop will provide an in-depth practical focus on creating your community engagement strategy and plan of activity. This will include: an overview of the what and why of community engagement; how to plan your engagement, using the Sustrans Community Engagement Template; and case studies illustrating a variety of common community engagement techniques and methods.

The workshop aims to:

  • improve your understanding of the importance of community engagement
  • increase your confidence and knowledge surrounding community engagement planning
  • increase knowledge of engagement methods
  • encourage confidence and knowledge in effective reporting.

This is an interactive workshop with plenty of time for discussion. The Engagement Team from Places for Everyone will be on hand to offer advice and answer any of your engagement-related queries.

Equality Impact Assessments

4 October, 10am-12noon

This session will introduce attendees to the process of developing an EqIA, and give them the opportunity to put their skills into practice in activities using real-world and hypothetical scenarios.

The workshop will let attendees:

  • share experiences in the production of EqIAs
  • understand EqIAs and their role within Places for Everyone
  • understand the values that underpin a good quality EqIA deliverable
  • see case studies of best practice EqIAs delivered by PfE partners
  • try out the Sustrans EqIA Template.

This is an interactive workshop with plenty of time for discussion. The Engagement Team from Places for Everyone will be on hand to offer advice and answer any of your engagement-related queries.

Behaviour Change for Places for Everyone

25 October, 10am-12 noon

We invite Places for Everyone partners to join us for a discussion of Behaviour Change in a Places for Everyone context. 

The workshop will help attendees to:

  • understand what behaviour change in a PfE context is
  • increase awareness of the importance of target audiences
  • increase awareness of relevant theories
  • increase knowledge and confidence around behaviour change planning and designing activities.

This is an interactive workshop with plenty of time for discussion, and will include information and case studies of best practice behaviour change in practice. The Engagement Team from Places for Everyone will be on hand to offer advice and answer any of your engagement-related queries.

Effective Communications Plans

1 November, 10am-12 noon

An effective communications plan is a key part of your project and the Engagement Plan deliverable in PfE. In this workshop you will:

  • assess the communication needs of different stakeholders
  • identify which methods and media are effective depending on the stakeholder and the context
  • learn how to disseminate information, attract participation and generate vibrant conversation

This is an interactive workshop with plenty of time for discussion. The Engagement Team from Places for Everyone will be on hand to offer advice and answer any of your engagement-related queries.

Building Engagement Teams and Steering Groups

8 November, 10am-12noon

This workshop will draw on examples of best practice in delivering impactful community engagement. It will use case studies to enable you to illustrate the importance of inter departmental and interagency working in creating a delivery team for community engagement. This will include how to involve voluntary sector and other statutory sector bodies.

You will also learn about how to develop a highly effective Community Advisory Group/Steering Group and understand their role and their opportunities and limitations. Meeting this deliverable will illustrate the value of including the community and inter-agency partners to support your equalities aspirations and engagement efforts; and drive forward; advocate for; and bring sustainability to your project.

This is an interactive workshop with plenty of time for discussion. The Engagement Team from Places for Everyone will be on hand to offer advice and answer any of your engagement-related queries.

Categories
Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

An Introduction to the Sustainable Travel to Stations Strategy

Overview

We invited Places for Everyone partners to join us for this webinar, as part of the Places for Everyone training and events programme – Engage · Inspire · Learn.

The session introduced the Sustainable Travel to Stations Strategy (STSS) – Scotland’s Railway’s strategic plan to help make it easy, convenient, and safe for most passengers to get to and from railway stations without a car.

The vision of the STSS is to grow the number of journeys passengers make to, and from, local neighbourhoods to the railway station by healthy and sustainable modes of transport: walking, wheeling, cycling, on-demand transport, and the bus.

The need for close collaboration and co-creation between all stakeholders to integrate stations is pressing. This strategy sets out to propose a tighter alignment between planning and delivery at all levels.

Presented by John Lauder, Deputy CEO Sustrans on secondment to Scotland’s Railway, who is leading on the strategy, the webinar covered why the strategy has been developed, how it is being delivered and what that means for you.

Webinar recording

Presentation slides

You can download a copy of the presentation here.

Questions & Answers

Q: If I was to draw a 5km radius ‘as the crow flies’ around a railway station, a bike journey would likely take longer than that 5km journey. Do you have an idea of how much longer you would expect for that journey to be done by bicycle?

The 5km outlined is based on the active travel framework and the target utility cycle journey in Scotland is 4km, so we’ve extended that to 5km. But it’s a rule of thumb that I would expect local authority officers to adapt based on topography, density of housing, and other factors. By and large, that’s the approach we want to see upheld.

It’s all about context and that’s where the Local Authority, RTP and Rail need to work together. Let’s start thinking about how stations work for the wider community – let’s go beyond thinking about the immediate car park.

Q: What are the suite of pilot projects, and how have they been selected?

We don’t have a fixed suite of pilot projects yet. We are currently talking with a couple of local authorities and want to get those up and running as practical pilots. Now we also have projects which are very close to the point where they could go for funding applications. So we currently have projects in delivery, in development and in discussion.

If you have a project that you are enthused about, we would like to hear from you. When my secondment ends, a new email address will become available to send your ideas about station integration to, and this will go directly to the Strategy and Investment team. A Practitioners guide will also be released in the next few weeks.

Q: Does the strategy consider accessibility? For example, how do things like access to benches and toilets, that are necessary for some people to make that journey, fit into the strategy?

Our accessibility strategy which is coming out shortly, will cover that exactly – for example seats, signage, toilets, noise colours, surfaces, step-free access. The challenge is that a lot of stations are old and can be difficult to access. So there’s a lot to be done here. Part of the challenge will be prioritisation. The accessibility strategy will say that we need to up our game and improve our stations.

Q: What do you know about the people who travel by train and don’t fill out the survey? It seems Rail doesn’t know its passengers well enough.

There is a lot of work needed because Rail don’t know enough about how people use their services. This survey is basic, empirical data and we need much more informed data. The Passenger Experience team in Scotrail are beginning to do some work around profiling, and understanding the needs of their users better, but there is a lot of work to be done to get more meaningful conversations with passengers.

Q: How do you envisage the 5km “zone” being applied in a rural context, for example Aviemore or Pitlochry?

I would like to think that we can do more to have better services to stations by either bus or community owned transport where distances are big. So for example, Stonehaven station, the radius here for the travel to station distance is 40km. What can we do there to give people an option not to use their car?

To answer the question about Aviemore and Pitlochry, I would like to see better facilities for walking and cycling, better cycle storage, a better accommodation of electric bikes that type of thing there. The strategy is quite clear that there will be an element of parking requirement in rural areas. But there’s an issue there, about how rural areas currently provide some form of public transport or not, and how that can be tackled over the next few years.

Q: Will Scotland’s Railway work with Network Rail if there is a network rail bridge in the 5km radius which is a serious barrier to those cycling and wheeling (due to steps)?

I would very much hope that with the endorsement behind this strategy, the property team and also the asset protection team (who look at every proposal in and around the real estate and how will it impact on the safety of the estate) will look positively on this type of application. A barrier like this, making it difficult to get to the station, might just discourage people from taking the train. So this definitely needs to be tackled, and again, it’s why we’re saying we want Rail to think about 5km from the front door and we want local authorities to think about the station 5km from a development.

Q: Beyond the pilot projects, will there be yearly funding available for local authorities to apply for access to stations?

My understanding is that Transport Scotland will encourage projects being submitted to them that are transport integration projects, particularly station integration projects. I don’t think there’ll be a dedicated fund created. I think the expectation that this is a theme that will grow and develop over the next few years and we’ll see more applications coming in.

Q: For many people in a rural environment, it will be a 3-5km journey to the station and also on the other end. Can you say anything about the lack of capacity of bike storage on trains?

The positive is that ScotRail are currently consulting on a whole new fleet of trains and this decarbonisation programme is leading to a complete refresh of the entire rolling stock. So there’s an opportunity to see an emphasis given to much greater provision of cycle carriage that will be part of the tender that’s released.

Speaking from experience, my concern is the ability of Rail to be able to cope with demand because I think demand’s going to grow and grow to have carriage of cycles and trains.
So that also questions the availability of good cycle parking, but also the availability of cycle hire at the other end as well. But this consultation on a new fleet gives us an opportunity for better provision for those using wheelchairs and mobility aids and those with a lot of luggage.

Q: Is there anything we can do in terms of phasing new stations,or improvements of stations, and integrating them around new developments?

There has to be much better provision, right from the start, that you can walk and cycle and get a bus in and out of the station. And it’s why I’ve highlighted the need for housing developers to begin thinking about how the housing development is designed around the station, so that it’s easy to get to the station from the get go. If we were following the infrastructure first planning principle, we would have the paths to the station long before housing is built. And that’s really what is needed.

Q: The West Coast trainline has dedicated bike carriages, which is great to see. Are there proposals to have similar facilities on wider networks or routes to make it more user friendly to get more cycles and wheeled vehicles onto trains?

I’m not aware of it, but as I said, the whole rolling stock for passenger services is to be refreshed, and it’s an opportunity to influence the decisions that are taken by ScotRail and the purchase of those trains. I would encourage you to participate in that wider consultation when it’s launched later on this year.

Q: John, do you have any key takeaways you’d like to share with the audience today?

This is a brilliant opportunity to think about the stations in your area and how easy they are to get to on foot by bike, wheeling and by bus. And it’s a golden opportunity to go to Rail and say we really want to improve this – how about it?

Because this strategy has been endorsed at the highest level, and we know more funding is becoming available for active travel, this is a great time to come up with a proposal to do something we’ve all wanted to do for a long time.

Categories
Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

An Introduction to Construction (Stages 5-7)

Overview

Partner organisations from across Scotland – including local authorities and community-led organisations – joined us to hear about the essential Construction (Stages 5-7) deliverables, best practices and lessons learned from previous Construction projects, and to have a platform to ask questions and take part in discussions.

This event follows on from An Introduction to Concept (Stages 0-2) and An Introduction to Design (Stages 3-4) which were held earlier in the year.

Setting the Scene

Simon Strain, Head of Programme (Grants) at Places for Everyone opened the session, acknowledging recent changes to the programme and how they are invaluable to creating impactful and successful active travel projects.

Introducing the deliverables and best practices

Marie-Claire Nyinawumuntu, Principal Engineer at Sustrans Scotland, kicked off the presentations, taking us through the essential deliverables, including hints and tips. She highlighted common deliverables to look out for including the Designer’s Risk Register, Permissions, Estimating and Procurement, and the Construction Phase Plan.

Case Study: Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling

Michaela Jackson (Stirling Council) and Charlie Griffiths (Ironside Farrar) who were involved in Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling, described their experience of taking the project through the Construction stages.

Case Study: Penpont to Thornhill Safe Walking and Cycling Path

KPT Development Trust recently completed the Construction stages of this project, which will make it easier to walk, wheel and cycle between Penpont and Thornhill in Dumfries and Galloway. Caroline Buck provided us with an overview of the project and lessons learnt.

Case Study: Grampian Road / Dalfaber Drive Junction

Neil Young from The Highland Council spoke about the recently constructed project in Aviemore, highlighting what went well and key learning points to consider for the future.

Questions and Answers

Q: When it comes to the tendering process of contractors, is it better to select a contractor that has constructed active travel infrastructure before?

There are definitely pros and cons and a contractor’s experience is something that you need to be aware of. What we would say is that we’re moving into situation where we’re seeking to deliver more and more active travel infrastructure annually than we have previously, and we’re going to need every contractor that we can to be upskilled in delivering these projects. So we wouldn’t suggest ruling out a contractor with no active travel experience, and be supportive of new contractors coming forward to learn about active travel infrastructure.

Q: For Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling, was the reception from the community largely positive? You also have quite a lot of competition for space outside Stirling Railway Station. Did you work with disability groups and receive feedback from people?

Michaela: We engaged quite a lot with Stirling Access Panel and have had some feedback since the opening regarding how the station connects to the taxi ranks and potential lack of signage. It’s an interesting lesson that you can have a really good project but without something like signage being implemented, this can cause it to fall down. This demonstrates how small actions make a big project work well.

Charlie: Generally the project is quite well received and people are interacting fairly well with it. Looking at junctions, there are so many different views on how people will approach a junction, but we hope that in time, everyone will know how it works and be used to it.

Simon: PfE encourages partners who’ve completed a project and have any concerns or improvements you’d like to make, then we are more than happy to receive requests for additional funding for Stage 7 to make small additional changes. Whether it’s something to do with the light sequence signage, putting a new dropped curb that you hadn’t foreseen was going to be needed… We’re happy to look at that and try and improve projects wherever we can. We work very closely with our Research and Monitoring Units to do as much monitoring as we can on projects to capture these impacts.

Q: If all works were grant funded, how did Stirling Council satisfy in-house procurement rules?

Procurement legislation only applies when buying in external services, there is still a requirement on local authorities to demonstrate best value which is done by assessing the roads services rates against other commercial bids / contract estimate.

Categories
Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

An Introduction to the Active Travel Strategy Guidance

Overview

This session provided an overview of the updated Active Travel Strategy Guidance released earlier in the year.

We looked at the key changes with the previous 2014 guidance, and it was put into the context of Transport Scotland’s Cycling Framework, which highlights the need for Active Travel Strategies in setting out partners’ approaches to enable active travel.

Stuart Logan from Transport Scotland kicked off the session setting the scene with National Policy Content. We then heard from Matt Davis from Sustrans who gave us an overview of the guidance document and highlighted key changes.

Following this, other members of the Steering Group who oversaw the development of the document, joined us for a panel discussion and Q&A, including:

  • Anna Gale, Public Health Scotland
  • Rona Gibb, Paths for All
  • Gail MacFarlane, SCOTS and West Dunbartonshire Council

Session recording

An Introduction to Active Travel Strategy Guidance

Questions & Answers

Q: I would like to know more about what the challenges/developments are for rural Active Travel Strategies or rural linking into and out of urban areas.

Each local authority should look at the key challenges in their area and work with the stakeholders in their area to develop their strategy.

There are lots of discussions going on just now about about 20-Minute Neighbourhoods and the links between rural and urban communities, and it’s all part of a wider package that we must be thinking about about how we connect these. There are also discussions about how 20-Minute Neighbourhoods might work within a rural setting and an urban setting, and these are very different things.

Q: Were interventions like Road User Charging considered as part of this work?

This is a broader transport intervention that would be covered in local transport strategy, and authorities will need to have a local transport strategy before they can implement things like this.

This guidance aims to support colleagues deliver active travel strategies. Road user charging is more around a ministerial/governmental policy. There wouldn’t be a huge impact of road charging on active travel initially because if it’s brought in, it would be trialed on major trunk roads, which are not the kind of roads we’d be looking to implement active travel interventions.

Q: Is there a call in the guidance to work regionally towards certain outcomes, and if not, is this something that is recommended?

There is an opportunity to work regionally here. Be it logos on signage for example. Discussions around cross-boundary and inter-regional work would certainly make it a more comprehensive system for public use. It comes with difficulties just now in terms of how the structure of funding and other things come in.

TS has increased funding available to Regional Transport Partners and RTPs should be looking at that regional overview. Cross-boundary is becoming more of a focus as TS look to increase funding.

Q: Is there an issue with the long term maintenance of active travel infrastructure that is being created?

As we know, every local authority budget is stretched. Road Asset Management Plans set out key priorities for the year ahead and how funding, revenue and capital are allocated. As we develop the strategy that shapes where that money is allocated, we are now looking at how we maintain active travel infrastructure. It’s challenging because people tend to report potholes rather than damage to a cycle lane. Our inspection regime needs to reflect that; ensuring checks are in place and feeding into the prioritisation of spend.

Categories
Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

Networking Planning Tool – Introduction & Demo

Overview

This online session introduced the Network Planning Tool, which predicts the relative demand for cycling on the majority of streets and paths across Scotland.

The tool will provide a national and objective evidence base, which Places for Everyone partners will be encouraged to use, to help identify and prioritise infrastructure proposals in their Active Travel Strategy. Ahead of the completion of the tool, scheduled for the end of 2023, a prototype was released to partners in April.

This session covered:

  • why the tool is being developed
  • how it works
  • how the prototype compares to the complete tool
  • how it is envisaged the tool will be used by Sustrans and partners.

Session recordings

In the first recording below, we hear from:

  • Simon Strain, Head of Programme (Grants) at Places for Everyone;
  • Matt Davis, Principal Mobility Planner at Sustrans Scotland; and
  • Robin Lovelace, Associate Professor of Transport Data Science at the University of Leeds, and one of the developers of the tool.

In this second recording, we hear from Russell Pepper, a Sustrans Senior Project Officer embedded in Dundee City Council. Russell talks about his experiences of using the tool alongside the Council’s Cycling Strategy.

Questions and answers

Q: Can the tool accept data from Local Authorities and other partners to make it more accurate at a local level?

Great question. No, the tool only takes input datasets that are available for all of Scotland currently. We may in future versions allow locally specific input datasets but that is not in the near-term roadmap. You will be able to download datasets to compare with locally specific datasets such as new housing developments, planned interventions, however. Which local input datasets were you thinking of Vikki?

Q: Will the Network Planning Tool be integrated into any of the Regional Transport Models?

We do not control regional transport models so this is not within our gift. However, we are open to conversations about sharing NPT outputs to feed in, or using outputs from other models to feed into the NPT although we will prioritise national and open input datasets.

Q: How can we ensure that rural areas that don’t necessarily have as much demand as cities, can still get funding for these important corridors?

The addition of other trip purposes (e.g. school) will help with that. The Phase 2 option of adding public transport integration and showing the cycling components of longer mutli-modal journeys will help in the longer term.

Q: How effective is the tool in less urban areas? (, Argyll and Bute Council)

This early prototype version of the tool is less effective in rural areas as it’s based on commute data, which accounts for a disproportionately low share of cycling trips in rural areas. This will be addressed as we add more trip purposes in future versions. School and other everyday journey purposes will be included in the release of the tool at the end of 2023. In the future there is the possibility to include leisure/recreational journeys as well as the cycling component of longer multi-modal journeys, which will further increase the effectiveness in rural areas.

Q: How will tool take account of increase of e-bikes? As distance and especially hills become less relevant to e-bike riders.

We will include an E-bike scenario and E-bike specific routing options.

Q: How does the tool deal with identifying origins and destinations in rural areas where most data zones are quite large?         

The tool uses a Jittering method to disaggregate flows in large data zones. Currently we’re using Output Areas for subpoints but we can use other subpoints for origins and destinations. Any suggested datasets for origins and destinations in rural areas? See here for an overview of the Jittering approach used: https://findingspress.org/article/33873-jittering-a-computat…

In future versions we will use smaller zones as the basis of the commuting origin-destination data and we have commissioned this data from NRS. This will be completed for inclusion in the release at the end of 2023.

Q: The test version of the NPT doesn’t appear to show any cycle data in many rural areas and islands. I understand some locations may not show potential for many cyclists but nothing is shown for Cycle Friendliness or Gradient either, can this be shown for all roads/routes irrespective of use forecasts?

As per the ‘effectiveness of the tool in rural areas question’, the current lack of cycle data in many rural areas and islands is expected to be addressed by inclusion of additional trip purposes into the tool.

In terms of not showing cycle friendliness or gradient where there are no forecast trips, there are several practical reasons why this is done. Firstly the cycle friendliness and gradient are generated at the routing stage. So, any road with no cycle demand in our model has no data to visualise. To infill these missing roads, we would have to create additional routes to fill in the gaps. This would require an enormous amount of additional routing, and it would undermine our goal of updating the tool on a monthly basis. Secondly, by only showing data for roads that have some cycle demand we significantly reduce the volume of data that is stored on the server and sent to the user’s device. Including data for every road in Scotland would increase the data requirements by about an order of magnitude. This would significantly reduce the performance of the tool and increase the cost of web hosting.

However, some of the missing roads will be added as we add different journey purposes. Experience from England, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland show that the non-commute purposes produce very different networks. So, it is likely that this will also be true in Scotland.

One thing to note is that when viewing the cycle friendliness or gradient maps the choice of network type matters. For example, a busy road with no cycling demand under the “quietest” type will not show a gradient of cycle friendliness even if the data is available. You can check for this by switching between the different network types. This is an aesthetic choice we made to make the network confident with the number of cyclists view. But we would welcome your feedback.

Q: Will cycle tourism data be a filter options in later versions?

Including recreational cycling as a journey purpose is under consideration for development during 2024 .

Q: Can you export maps and GIS file formats from the online platform?

Not currently, but we plan to add this functionality when we publish v0.2, which will include travel to school potential in a combined network.

Q: Is the ‘number of cyclist’ filter ‘per day’?

Yes, this corresponds to the number of cyclists on a typical day. We will shift to AADT (annualised daily traffic) estimates for the final version.

Q: What data/information is used to determine cycle friendliness i.e. hostile or quiet, how up to date is this?

Please see the section of the manual in the development version of the tool: https://nptscot.github.io/manual/#map-controls

Q: Rural recreational cycling is also an economic growth opportunity. Will this be considered more going forwards?

Yes, there’s potential to include this in phase 2.

Q: How can you ensure that the Go Dutch model is accurate if the data used is 12 years old? Can you provide a link to the methodology for this model, please?

The current prototype does use 2011 census commuting data. This will produce networks which emphasise arterial routes to major employment centres. The current distribution of residential and major employment sites is likely to have many similarities to that in 2011, so we expect the results to be broadly applicable to the current picture. We are also updating the commuting layer prior to the end of 2023 to take account of recent population growth estimates. However, once the 2022 Census journey to work results are released, we plan to update this layer.

In addition, prior to the end of 2023 release we will also include travel to school and other everyday trips which will have different source data and baselines. For example the travel to school data was collected in September 2022, so the baseline for the Go Dutch Travel to School layer will be more recent.

The Go Dutch scenario itself was originally developed for the Propensity to Cycle Tool and the methodology is described in the Propensity to Cycle Tool manual https://npct.github.io/pct-shiny/regions_www/www/static/03a_manual/pct-bike-eng-user-manual-c1.pdf .

This information will also be included in the Network Planning Tool manual prior to release at the end of 2023.

Q: How is the baseline data calculated and how often is the website kept up to date?

The current prototype baseline data is from the 2011 census for journey to work. We plan to update with the 2022 census data when this becomes available. The website is currently kept up to date on a monthly basis.

Q: What is the network based on? I looked up Inverness. It did not show remote paths / routes for example locks are used to cross the canal. This means that a busy active travel route is not showing up on the tool.

The current prototype only includes commuter flows so routes that are heavily used by other trip purposes (such as shopping, recreation, school travel) will not show up. We will be adding more trip purposed before the full launch at the end of the year. Also by default the tool shows the fastest routes, these may be on very busy roads that in reality cyclists avoid. We do this to highlight places that cyclists may wish to cycle, but can’t due to a lack of suitable infrastructure. Finally our routes are calculated by cyclestreets which is in turn based on the OpenStreetMap (OSM). It is possible that an error in the OSM (e.g. a missing path link) is preventing routing in this area. So we suggest checking planning a cycle route on the cyclestreets website, in the immediate area where this issue occurs. This should identify if cyclestreets is picking up the path(s) in question, as part of cycle route planning. If an error is identified it is possible to edit paths in OSM, which may fix this problem.

Q: Are there any plans to link this tool with existing cycle counter data?

Cycle count data will be one of the data sources used to validate the tool’s outputs prior to release at the end of 2023.

Q: Is there more info on how cycle friendliness is calculated, that can be put on the system in the help section?

Good question, yes the friendliness score is from CycleStreets, they have more detail here: https://www.cyclestreets.net/help/journey/howitworks/#quietness  I’ve made a note to add this to the manual in our issue tracker: https://github.com/nptscot/nptscot.github.io/issues/60 Any more feedback on there is welcome!

Q: Are there any plans to develop a layer to map existing cycle use-age / counts to assist in validating the tool? Strava heat maps are only partial data but can be an eye opener on what is actually being used

We are not currently planning to add visualisations of cycle count data into the tool. Cycling Scotland have an open data platform that displays Scotland-wide cycle count data. However, we are planning to use this cycle counter data to validate the tool’s outputs prior to release at the end of 2023. Strava data has a bias towards leisure & recreation journeys so we are not currently planning to use this in validation. However predictions of leisure & recreational journeys are being considered as a function to add to the tool during 2024. If so Strava data will be one data source that is likely to be used to build this function.