Behaviour Change Case Studies News Places for Everyone

Barriers to walking and cycling inspire new canal-side ramp

A cyclist arrives to join a led ride from Centre81

Inspired by residents’ reported barriers to walking and cycling, Clydebank Housing Association has been working to create a new accessible path between the Centre81 community centre and the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Working in partnership with Sustrans Scotland, Clydebank Housing Association (CHA) established a steering group with local residents to work out ways to encourage people to walk and cycle for more of their every-day trips.

Residents suggested that creating an accessible route from  Centre81, to the nearby canal towpath – part of National Cycle Network Route 754 – would help more people access the canal as well as local shops, bus links and other neighbourhoods along the canal.

Using local contacts and knowledge

CHA took on the task of working with the community to identify how best to design this path.

CHA made full use of its existing connections with groups throughout Clydebank. ISARO Social Integration Network – which works to promote integration and understanding amongst communities – provided support for the consultation, along with local disability groups, youth clubs and schools.

The honest feedback about the issues that visitors to Center81 faced on their everyday journeys gave CHA clear understanding of their needs and how they could be addressed through construction of a new access route.

Resources for Behaviour Change

Funding from other sources can help spur interest in walking and cycling in the local area. A successful bid to Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Climate Challenge Fund saw CHA work to refurbish bikes for people in the local area and provide maintenance training so people could keep their bikes on the road.

Led rides and social cycles also began and finished at Centre81, taking advantage of the café and other facilities. The new ramp will give ride groups direct access to and from the canal, avoiding an alternative narrow path. This will give people new or returning to cycling a safe, off-road link to practice and ride freely on.

Photograph: A poly-tunnel sits alongside some overgrown hedges at the side of Centre81
An area of land at the side of Centre81 will be ravamped for the ramp

Inspired by their work with local residents, CHA and their designers created six designs for the ramp. Feedback also came from local stakeholders, including planning and roads officers at West Dunbartonshire Council, representatives from Clydebank Community Council and community officers from Police Scotland. Work with Scottish Canals and Sustrans Scotland ensured that proposals fitted with the requirements around the canal and the National Cycle Network.

Ensuring that local residents and users of Centre81 remained involved, CHA presented the six designs to the community, who voted for their favourite. The successful project was put forward to Sustrans Scotland for Places for Everyone construction funding.

Sustrans awarded CHA £170,000 through the Places for Everyone programme to finalise the technical design of the ramp and carry out construction. The option choose by the community will include local history, artwork, colourful tarmac and lighting to create an interesting new place. The school are keen to contribute by creating content to make this new space reflect the history and culture of Clydebank.

Key Learning
Photograph: Staff from Clydebank Housing Association and Centre81 join a led ride from Centre 81 alongside a canal
Staff from Clydebank Housing Association and Centre81 join a led ride

This project shows how partnerships with other organisations can create additional capacity and make smaller projects easier to deliver.

CHA staff were confident in engaging with their community, but had no experience of delivering an infrastructure project. West Dunbartonshire Council did not have the capacity to work in-depth with the community to develop a proposal for the canal ramp.

By pooling their knowledge and expertise, the two organisations were able to work together to create a useful route which meets the needs of local people and encourages them to travel by foot and bike.

Behaviour Change Case Studies News Places for Everyone

Creating new neighbourhood links in Toryglen

Through their work with local people, Glasgow-based charity Urban Roots realised that residents of a new housing development, funded as part of the regeneration of Toryglen, were finding it hard to access local services and greenspaces.

The charity applied for funding through Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme to design local walking and cycling routes. These will link the new estate with nearby shops, football pitches and woodland.  

Listening to the needs of the community

To gather information on the links that would be most useful to the community, Urban Roots held focus groups tailored to their different volunteer groups, held engagements at existing meetings and ran standalone events.

Urban Roots works to support many vulnerable people and groups with protected characteristics. This experience and the trust built up with volunteers, locals and service users let them carry out in-depth consultation with groups that may have been hard to reach for a local authority or developer, including a mental health and wellbeing group and the Orchard Grove care home

The charity focused on identifying solutions to problems faced by the community in the area. They created concept boards to spark ideas at consultations. By working closely with the community and design agency LUC, Urban Roots were able to make sure that feedback from the targeted consultations was meaningfully translated into the concept designs. 

This meant the proposed designs suggested walking and cycling routes which recognised the everyday journeys made by local residents, formalised desire lines and which were accessible, safe and welcoming to all.

“I think this would be a great space to use and for everyone from elderly to disabled people. Really well thought about!”

Consultation Response

Changing local travel habits

Urban Roots used their consultations as a chance to find out more about individual and social barriers to walking and cycling in the area. This led to the charity setting up a behaviour change project in partnership with Camglen Bike Town.

The project supported local people to be more active in their everyday trips. Cycle training for adults and young people gave locals the confidence to use bikes to get around the local area. Bike maintenance sessions and guided rides help to make sure that people had the skills and knowledge to ride safely and confidently.

“ At Bike Town, we believe local communities and the organisations representing them are ideally placed to facilitate walking and cycling activities that support the development of new cycling active travel infrastructure. ”

Jim Ewing, Senior Team Leader, Camglen Biketown

Partnership working

Urban Roots were well placed to lead on the community engagement but did not have experience of project managing significant construction projects.

To take the designs forward, Urban Roots engaged with Glasgow City Council and local regeneration agency Clyde Gateway This has resulted in Clyde Gateway applying for £50,000 of detailed and technical design funding through the Places for Everyone fund, to further develop Urban Roots’ concept design work.

Key Learning

Community organisations have key local contacts and an understanding of their local area. Local authorities could contract them to help with the planning of new routes or to encourage a more meaningful engagement process.

Community organisations may also have capacity to help drive local authority projects and foster local ownership.

This approach could be replicated through all stages of a project, from initial design creation to supporting activities after construction and ongoing maintenance.

Behaviour Change Case Studies News Places for Everyone

Reaching new audiences along the South City Way

Two women stand, talking at a counter in Bike for Good's shop. A third woman stands behind the counter smiling. The women to the left of the image is holding a green and white bike.
The new Bike for Good Hub provides servicing, repair and a community base

A proactive approach to reaching new audiences has seen a surge in the number of people trying cycling for the first time along the South City Way in Glasgow.

The South City Way project is a partnership between Glasgow City Council and Sustrans, funded through Transport Scotland. The 3km route, from Queen’s Park into the City Centre, seeks to rebalance the streets in favour of people walking and cycling and to make journeys in the area more pleasant.

Local charity Bike for Good were funded by Glasgow City Council to deliver behaviour change measures before and during construction of the project.

They offer bike recycling, cycle training, outreach activities and maintain the city’s Nextbike public bike hire fleet.

The charity has strong partnerships with local organisations around the cycle route and provided tailored support activities to different audiences. 

Focused Impact

Bike for Good’s purpose was clear: to reach people new to cycling and help them to overcome their barriers to being more active.

By organising a wide range of events that mixed food, music, films and socialising they reached people who would not have been interested in purely cycling-focussed activities.

 As a result, two-thirds of cycling activity participants were new to cycling.

Removing barriers

A section of text is written on a blackboard: "Changing lives through cycling! Our Glasgow South Community Hib offers a range of services for..."
Bike for Good run a wide range of programmes from their two Glasgow centres

Bike for Good worked hard to make it easier for more people to come along to their engagement sessions.

The sessions are free to attend and the charity proactively took their services to different areas along the route. 

As well as reaching new audiences by partnering with other organisations working on health, integration and rehabilitation programmes, they offered activities for specific audiences including:

  • Women only rides and cycle skills training
  • Kids afterschool club with occasional trips away
  • “Spokes Not Blokes”, a monthly maintenance session for women and non-binary people

Finally, Bike for Good also ran a pilot project aimed at giving people affordable access to bikes. Aimed at people on low or no income and population groups who are less likely to cycle the “Bikes for All” pilot provided access to Glasgow’s Nextbike public hire scheme for £3 year – a discount of 95%.

This meant that as well as Bike for Good activities being accessible to a wider range of people, they have increased their understanding of ways to effectively encourage participation in cycling among under-represented and minority population groups.

In a two-year period (July 2017 – July 2019), 414 people were signed up, representing 8% of all new annual members of the nextbike scheme in Glasgow during this time. In the same period, 10,253 bike rentals were made by Bikes for All participants, representing 2.3% of all nextbike hires in Glasgow. (from the Bikes for All impact report, November 2019).

Key learning

Tapping in to existing social and support networks helps increase engagement with a bigger range of audiences, especially those who may be seldom heard.

Activities that encourage people to use new infrastructure should be tailored for different target groups or individuals. As a person starts to make more journeys by bike, their needs will change. This means that there needs to be a range of ways to support them.

Local Authority Support

Glasgow City Council provided funding to Bike for Good through Smarter Choices Smarter Places funding. This two year agreement has enabled them to provide a visible and welcoming community space to promote active travel to those living and working around this new route.

The targeted use of this fund to support this significant new route is to be commended. It has supported and complemented the  changes to the built environment carried out by Glasgow City Council and, by coming from a trusted, local organisation, will help lead to longer, more impactful changes in the community.

Key learning

Just as individuals will have specific active travel needs, different infrastructure projects will require different approaches to how they encourage people to walk and cycling more in the surrounding area.

Based on the reported success of Bike for Good’s activities, a relatively small investment in providing support activities can have a large impact. The number and type of people using the route will be key measures of success, so the benefits of supporting a wider audience to be cycle-ready are clear.