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Latest Places for Everyone annual impact report released

Following a year of rigorous analysis carried out by Sustrans’ Research and Monitoring Unit (RMU), the 2022-23 evaluation report for the Places for Everyone programme is now available to the public. 
 
The latest findings offer key insights into some of the delivery activities Places for Everyone has carried out across the lifecycle of the programme, including how the programme has contributed to overarching Scottish Government objectives in active travel as well as Places for Everyone’s own benchmark outcomes. 
 
Backed by Transport Scotland, the Places for Everyone programme provides millions of pounds to local authorities and community groups every year in order to help create new and accessible walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure right across Scotland, from the Scottish Borders to the Western Isles. 
 
In order to demonstrate the impact of this funding, the 2022-23 report draws on monitoring data collected from a variety of different infrastructure projects delivered by the programme, as well as five in-depth project case studies. Data is collected by Sustrans RMU and by delivery partners.

What are the findings?

Overall, the results are incredibly positive. 

Measured against Scottish Government objectives, our analysis reveals an overall increase in route usage across Places for Everyone projects in the years following construction. 
 
Likewise, a majority of route users feel safe in using Places for Everyone routes. 
 
This was shown across different travel modes (i.e. walking and cycling) as well as demographic factors including age and gender. 
 
This is further supported by the finding of a significant reduction in casualty rates following Places for Everyone project delivery. 

In terms of the sheer amount of hard infrastructure that has been delivered through the programme, around 154km of protected and accessible routes had been created by the end of 2022-23. This compares to 54km by the end of 2016-17.   
 
Another key highlight demonstrates that projects are supported by the communities in which they are delivered.  From a sample of projects, almost three quarters of local residents supported proposals and felt their views had been taken into account as part of project development.  
 
Turning to health outcomes, reporting not only found overall reduced emissions across a sample of projects following delivery but also revealed a significant increase in the number of route users who agreed projects had helped increase their levels of physical activity. 
 
Taken together, these results evidence the value that Places for Everyone brings in increasing walking, wheeling and cycling journeys across Scotland, and consistently demonstrates the ability of the programme to fulfil its stated objectives.

What about specific projects?

Post-construction case studies from projects in and around Glasgow featured heavily in the report this year. 
 
The newly completed South City Way, which was delivered in partnership with Glasgow City Council, creating a safe and accessible cycleway from Queen’s Park to the heart of the city centre, was amongst those included.

The South City Way connects Queens Park to Glasgow city centre via a direct 3km route. ©Sustrans/McAteer, 2023.

As well as a 20% reduction in vehicles travelling over the speed limit, monitoring here shows that active travel journeys along the route have increased by 30% following construction. 

In terms of cutting carbon emissions, findings also revealed a 53% decrease in CO2 since the South City Way was completed.   
 
Likewise, analysis was conducted for Stockingfield Bridge in the North of Glasgow. 
 
Delivered by Scottish Canals, the new bridge provides a quick and convenient off-road walking, wheeling and cycling link via the Forth and Clyde Canal network.

Stockingfield Bridge links communities together across North Glasgow and provides a vital missing link in the Forth and Clyde Canal Network. ©Sustrans/McAteer, 2023

Results here demonstrated a significant increase in trips under 4 miles, as well as trips for work, school and visiting friends and family. 
 
The Bowline in West Dunbartonshire, also delivered by Scottish Canals, aimed to create an attractive and traffic-free connection between Glasgow city centre and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. 
 
Analysis of route usage show huge success in this regard, with trips almost doubling along the traffic-free route since its completion in late 2021.

The Bowline in West Dunbartonshire offers a safe and convenient traffic free route along National Cycle Network Route 7. ©Sustrans/McAteer, 2024.

Outside of the cities, Gynack Gardens in Kingussie has also evidenced a truly impressive impact.
 
Working in partnership with The Highland Council and Cycle Friendly Kingussie, the Gynack Gardens project aimed to offer residents and visitors an attractive greenspace whilst also boosting active travel.

The new park in Kingussie has not only created a stunning new greenspace to socialise in but has also helped boost active travel in the area. ©Sustrans/McAteer, 2024.

Since completion, the new park has helped support a 270% increase in walking, wheeling and cycling in the project area. 
 
The park also rated highly on user perceptions of safety, accessibility, and the extent to which the space has enhanced the local area. 
 
The Cumbernauld Green Route, completed at the close of 2022 in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council and Green Action Trust, provides a safe and convenient connection between the centre of Cumbernauld and surrounding communities, whilst also enhancing local greenspace.

At 2.3km in length, the Cumbernauld Green Route has linked up communities through improved paths, road crossings and landscaping initiatives. ©Sustrans/McAteer, 2024.

In evidence of its success, monitoring shows a marked increase in route usage following its delivery, as well as high ratings in on quality by those using the path.

Where can I read the report?

The Places for Everyone 2022-23 infrastructure impact summary report is available to download below.

An easy read version of the report is also available below.

The full Places for Everyone 2022-23 infrastructure impact report is available on request. Please contact Nigel.Donnell@Sustrans.org.uk or Jess.Acton@Sustrans.org.uk

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News News & Opinion Places for Everyone Research and Monitoring

Places for Everyone 2021-22 Report Released

The Research and Monitoring Unit (RMU) at Sustrans have now published their report on the impact of the Places for Everyone programme, based on evaluation undertaken in the 2021-22 period.

Analysing data taken from 30 different projects across the history of the programme, and five case studies evaluated during 2021-22, the findings demonstrate how the Places for Everyone programme is continuing to deliver safer and more accessible walking, wheeling, and cycling opportunities across Scotland.

Following improvements to Lower Granton Road, 97% of users said that the path felt safe during the day with 89% agreeing the route felt safe with regard to motor traffic. Credit: Colin Hattersley/Sustrans, 2018.

The five new project case studies featured within the 2021-22 report include path improvements introduced along Lower Granton Road in Edinburgh, as well as an evaluation of the Lochindaal Way, a new traffic-free active travel route connecting two rural Islay communities.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery and subsequent monitoring of Places for Everyone projects, the scope and focus of the 2021-22 report was strategically altered to prioritise case study evaluation.

Nonetheless, these results clearly show the value Places for Everyone projects have brought to local communities across the country and how the programme is delivering on Transport Scotland’s Active Travel Outcomes.

All cyclists interviewed and most of pedestrians felt either safe or very safe when using the protected junctions on the South City Way. Credit: McAteer/Sustrans, 2023.

To read the Places for Everyone 2021-22 Infrastructure Impact Summary Report, click on either of the links below: 

Places for Everyone 2021-22 Infrastructure Impact Summary Report
Places for Everyone 2021-22 Infrastructure Impact Summary Report – Easy Read

To receive further information and access to the full Places for Everyone 2021-22 Infrastructure Impact Report please contact rory.mitchell@sustrans.org.uk

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News News & Opinion Research and Monitoring

Active travel increases after path upgrades to Wishawhill Wood

The Wishawhill Wood path links the suburb of Craigneuk in North Lanarkshire with Wishaw town centre via a high-quality active travel route.

Previously, the only option for walking, wheeling and cycling away from the busy road, and without the use of an inaccessible footbridge over the railway, was a muddy and overgrown path.

Construction on the new route was completed in 2020.

It has since provided a safe and easy way for people of all abilities to travel between Craigneuk and Wishaw, as well as improving access to the local woodland and Wishawhill Wood Pump Track.

The project was led by Green Action Trust (GAT) and part-funded by the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme. Match funding was provided by North Lanarkshire Council who have also taken on maintenance responsibility for the route.

Sustrans’ Research and Monitoring Unit (RMU) evaluated the impact of the project in 2022 by counting and surveying people using the path, as well as interviewing local people and stakeholders.

The Wishawhill Wood path links the suburb of Craigneuk in North Lanarkshire with Wishaw town centre via a high-quality active travel route. Credit: Green Action Trust.

What were the findings?

RMU analysis found that the path has contributed to substantially more trips being taken through Wishawhill Wood – particularly by young and older people.

Before the path upgrade, an estimated 16,000 trips were made during 2019 by people passing through or visiting the pump track. After the upgrade, an estimated 41,000 trips were taken during 2022 – about two and a half times as many.

The path is mainly used for recreation and has helped local residents increase their regular physical activity.

In 2022, 40% of survey respondents said they made a journey along the route daily, compared with 15% in 2019.

The path upgrade has also helped people access a much wider range of local services than before.

Many people using the route strongly agreed that it is easily accessible, enhances the area and meets the needs of the community.

85% of respondents said they were walking or cycling because the path was the most convenient route to get to their destination, up from 18% in 2019.

Numbers of people strongly agreeing that the path is well maintained, feels safe and is well lit have also increased, but are still relatively low.

RMU analysis found that the path has contributed to substantially more trips being taken through Wishawhill Wood.

A community asset

Reflecting on the impact upgrading the path has had on the local community, interviewees were positive.

One person told us:

“It’s a great green transport link, in terms of from the centre of Wishaw, right the way down through…it certainly has opened the area up.”

Local resident, Wishaw

Dan Scott, the Managing Director at Socialtrack, a local social enterprise that encourages people to cycle, scoot, and skateboard, explained how the upgraded path had encouraged pump track users to cycle rather than drive.

“Six lads travelled from another part of Wishaw, which was two miles away from the pump track. The first time they came, six lads came in four cars and then six lads came in three cars, and then eventually six lads came themselves on their own bikes.”

Dan Scott, Managing Director, Socialtrack

Communicating the results

By presenting the findings of the study as a StoryMap, which uses a combination of interactive maps, graphs, voice recordings from local people and “before and after” photos, users can simply and interactively learn more about the project.

The webpage details the story of the path, how it was developed, how it connects people and place, and its impact within the local community.

Alan Boyd, Evaluation Officer in Sustrans’ Research and Monitoring Unit, said:

“We are pleased to share our findings which detail the increase in walking, wheeling and cycling as a result of the path upgrade in Wishawhill Wood.”

“The new path has created a safer and more accessible route for people of all abilities travelling between Craigneuk and Wishaw.”

“We have uploaded our analysis onto a StoryMap for those who would like to find out more about the project. The StoryMap is flexible, so users can zoom in and out of the maps, easily skip to whatever research they find most interesting, and listen to local people discuss the changes that they have seen since the path opened.”

Alan Boyd, Evaluation Officer, Sustrans
The upgraded path had encouraged people to cycle rather than drive to the local pump track. Credit: Holly Musgrove/Sustrans, 2022.

Mike Batley, Development Officer at Green Action Trust, added:

“The Wishawhill Wood project has been a great opportunity for the Green Action Trust and partners to make a real difference to people’s quality of life through access to greenspace and active travel.”

“Anecdotally the path has clearly had a positive effect, however this new piece of evaluation has put firm data behind its impact, which is very encouraging for future projects.”

“The StoryMap brings the work to life in an easily understood and engaging way, so I’m delighted to see the results in this format.”

Mike Batley, Development Officer, Green Action Trust

Want to find out more?

Experience the StoryMap or contact monitoring@sustrans.org.uk

More information about StoryMaps