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Spaces for People research resources

Spaces for People is the Scottish Government’s temporary active travel infrastructure programme, administered by Sustrans Scotland. It was launched in May 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. The programme allocated a total of £33m for active travel infrastructure measures. 34 partners, mostly local authorities, claimed funding through the programme for a range of projects that enabled safe active travel during the pandemic.

It enabled local authorities to install temporary measures to help people on foot, bike or wheels get about safely during the pandemic.

850 measures installed including:

  • 192 Footpath Widening stretching 41.4km
  • 27 Crossing Upgrades
  • 70 Cycle lane (Segregated) stretching 79.4km
  • 14 Cycle lane (Non-segregated) stretching 25.3km
  • 219 Cycle Parking
  • 56 Street Closure stretching 28.9km
  • 24 Street reduction (20mph) zones
  • 30 Speed reduction (Other) stretching 84.1km
  • 168 Vegetation cut back stretching 209km
  • 81 Other measures

Provided below are a range of reports and results from consultations in relation to Spaces for People. Resources are also provided in relation to the broader context of travel during the pandemic. Additional resources are also available on the relevant local authority website.

Consultations

Argyll & Bute – Spaces for People Engagement Surveys

Argyll & Bute Council asked for the views of the local community on Spaces for People proposals in seven town centres. The survey was open from Thursday 16 July to Sunday 26 July 2020. Reports are available for each of the individual towns included in the survey.

Argyll & Bute – Spaces for People Engagement Surveys

Scottish Borders CitizenSpace Survey responses

During June and July 2020 the public was asked to provide specific suggestions for temporary local schemes which would make it safer for people to walk or cycle for essential trips and exercise during COVID-19. An overview of all comments submitted is available through the below link.

Scottish Borders Citizen Space Survey responses

Commonplace

Visitors to the Commonplace website were able to create their own comments at a specific location, or agree with existing comments by clicking on the thumbs up button. For each comment, at each location, respondents choose from a multiple-choice list of issue(s) relating to social distancing, and a list of potential ways to improve this. They could also add extra information about issues, improvements or suggestions in the ‘other’ section. The platform was open for multiple council areas, and comments are available to review.

A report is also available on the Aberdeen responses. It includes three sections that explore the headline results of the Commonplace consultation for Aberdeen. The first section provides an overview of the whole consultation area. The second section provides a summary of results from three specific areas. The final section summarises who responded to the survey.

Commonplace Platform

Aberdeen City Council – Commonplace Report

East Lothian – Dunbar public engagement results

East Lothian Council conducted a survey to gain feedback on the proposed Spaces for People measures in Dunbar. The local community provided feedback online from the 30th November 2020 to 6th December 2020. This report presents the results and provides an insight into the community’s attitude to different interventions proposed in the local area.

East Lothian – Dunbar public engagement results

Attitudes

Edinburgh City Council

The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) undertook a six-week public consultation entitled Retaining ‘Spaces for People’ Measures from the 22nd February until 5th April 2021. The survey is intended to give the Council a better understanding of how people feel about retaining the different spaces for people projects that have temporarily been introduced in Edinburgh, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Stantec was appointed to undertake the analysis of the open-ended questions in the public consultation survey. They had surveys on our online consultation hub aimed at residents, businesses and stakeholders. In addition to the consultation, Edinburgh City Council also conducted Market Research. The online questionnaire focused on;

  • how much people supported or opposed keeping the measures from strongly approve to strongly disapprove
  • what people felt were the main benefits or disadvantages of keeping the measures
  • which measures people would especially like to keep or remove.
  • what forms of transport they had used on streets with measures in place
  • how they had travelled around Edinburgh before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Spaces for People Consultation Analysis Open-Ended Questions Reporting

Summary of Business Responses to consultation on possible retention of Spaces for People (SfP) measures: Consultation Hub

Summary of stakeholder and community council responses to consultation on possible retention of Spaces for People measures

Response to individual and business surveys: headline data

City of Edinburgh Council Spaces for People Market Research

Disability Equality Scotland

Each week Disability Equality Scotland send out a poll question to their members on a topical issue. For the week beginning 14 August 2020, they asked two questions about the Spaces for People programme. The questions related to awareness of the measures and any impact on getting around.

Disability Equality Scotland

TACTRAN

TACTRAN is the statutory Regional Transport Partnership covering Angus, Dundee City, Perth & Kinross and Stirling. TACTRAN commissioned an attitudinal and behavioural survey to measure the effectiveness of the Spaces for People (SfP) programme in the TACTRAN region. It comprised of ten waves between August 2020 and April 2021. The survey provides in insight to:

  • The frequency participants travelled and mode used for nine different purposes both in the last seven days and hypothetically, if no COVID-19 restrictions were in place. It also included questions about expected future travel over the next month.
  • Participants’ attitude towards different modes of transport. If a respondent reported a negative feeling for a transport mode, they were asked to provide a reason for this opinion. Participants were also asked about their concerns in relation to people spreading the virus while using public or active travel respectively.
  • Participants’ were asked about their awareness of different Spaces for People measures implemented across the four local authority areas. If participants were aware of the measure, they were asked how positively or negatively they felt towards the measure, and the reason for this opinion.
  • Participants also shared information on the time spent walking or cycling for different purposes, such as leisure or commuting and how this had changed since March 2020.

TACTRAN Spaces for People Attitudinal Surveys Wave 10 Report

Traffic Data

Edinburgh City Council

Edinburgh City Council has presented data on cycle volume at locations that have Spaces for People measures.

Supporting Information for report on potential retention of Spaces for People measures: June 2021 Cycle counter data from Counters on Spaces for People routes

Scottish Borders Council Traffic Speed and Volume Dashboard

The Scottish Borders Council have provided a public dashboard presenting the outcome of speed surveys in multiple sites across the region. A comparison between three surveys is available, providing average speed and 85th percentile. The initial survey occurred before Spaces for People measures were introduced. The second and third surveys evaluate the Spaces for People measure of a 20mph speed limit.

Scottish Borders Council Traffic Speed and Volume Dashboard

Project Review

Glasgow City Council – Spaces for People Project Review & Assessment Report

Glasgow City Council has introduced a number of Spaces for People temporary measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; including widened footways, pop-up cycle lanes and pedestrianisation zones using road space, giving priority to those walking, cycling, and wheeling. This report provides an overview of these measures, documents the analysis and evaluation of relevant data, sets out a process to enable an assessment of the individual measures and presents recommendations for either the removal or retention. Glasgow City Council commissioned Sweco to carry out this report.

Glasgow City Council – Spaces for People Project Review & Assessment Report

Travel during the Pandemic

NESTRANS

Nestrans have commissioned Systra to conduct monthly online travel behaviour and attitude surveys between July 2020 and March 2022. The reports provide insight as to how people in the North East of Scotland are traveling and how they expect to travel in the future, as well as finding out their current issues and concerns.

NESTRANS

Public Health Scotland

The report considers how COVID-19 is affecting the use of transport systems, the implications for population health and wellbeing and support for policy responses during the transition through and beyond COVID-19. While the report does not specifically review Spaces for People measures, it does provide it does give an understanding of transport use and attitudes during the pandemic, with particular focus on health and health inequalities. Both the briefing and full report is available below.

Transport use, health and health inequalities: The impact of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 – Briefing

Transport use, health and health inequalities: The impact of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 A rapid review of evidence in support of a health inequalities impact assessment

Transport Scotland

Transport Scotland is monitoring trends and attitudes to transport during the COVID-19 outbreak. Regular reports provides a snapshot of travel across main modes when compared to a pre-pandemic baseline. 

Transport Scotland also carried out a series of telephone surveys with a representative sample of over 16s across Scotland. The survey is aimed at gaining an understanding of the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting current travel behaviour and intentions for future travel in Scotland. As of October 2021, 20 waves of the survey have been undertaken, with the highlights of the report available below. The report provides an insight into:

  • The frequency participants travelled and mode used for ten different purposes. These questions were asked in the context of the last seven days and prior to the first lockdown.
  • Participants were asked about their concerns in relation to people spreading COVID-19 while using public or active travel respectively.
  • Participants were asked about their future expected travel behaviour
  • Participants were asked about their attitude to public transport, their compliance with travel guidance and the vaccination.

COVID-19 Transport Trend Data

COVID-19 Public Attitudes Survey Data

Categories
Spaces for People

Professional briefing on Spaces for People

Why is Spaces for People important for health and wellbeing?

Ensuring that everyone is equally able to move around their local area safely to meet their needs while adhering to physical distancing adjustments is important for the health and wellbeing of the population. [i]Douglas MJ et al. Health and Transport: A Guide. Scottish Health and Inequalities Impact Assessment Network; 2018. www.scotphn.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Transport-Guide2018-Final-Formatted.pdf [ii]Cooper E et al. Transport, health, and wellbeing: An evidence review for the Department for Transport. NatCen; 2019. … Continue reading [iii]NHS Health Scotland Place and Communities Inequality Briefing. NHS Health Scotland; 2016. www.healthscotland.scot/publications/place-and-communities

  • It increases opportunities for social interactions which are important in reducing social isolation and maintaining good mental health
  • It enables access to work, education and training as well as local resources that are essential to maintaining good health
  • It enables access to services including health and social care services

Where this involves walking, wheeling and cycling for all or part of a journey it also increases levels of physical activity and contributes to improved physical and mental health and wellbeing for adults and children. For example regular physical activities can reduce the risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and mental health problems and can improve mood. [iv]Public Health England. Spatial Planning for Health. An evidence resource for planning and designing healthier places. Public Health England; 2017. … Continue reading [v] Douglas MJ et al. Health and Transport: A Guide. Scottish Health and Inequalities Impact Assessment Network; 2018. www.scotphn.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Transport-Guide2018-Final-Formatted.pdf [vi]Scottish Government National Transport Strategy: Protecting our climate and improving our lives. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Edinburgh; 2019. … Continue reading

The Scottish Government’s Transport Transitions Plan encourages walking, wheeling and cycling, where possible as an alternative to using public transport, and if using public transport, to be mindful of the restrictions in place.

Creation of additional local safe, high quality space and good quality routes through road reallocation and a review of traffic and parking arrangements is a vital part of our response to maintaining a safe physical distance, improving the environment, providing protection from traffic and promoting good health and wellbeing.

Challenges to moving safely

Increase in road traffic

There can be tensions and conflict between different transport modes. As restrictions are further relaxed, the number of people moving will continue to increase while the requirement to maintain physical distancing will remain. More people will return to work, education and training and people may want to access local facilities including shops and outdoor cafes.

This might help to reinvigorate the local economy but will also increase the pressure on local spaces.

Data from Transport Scotland collected during the lockdown and phase 1 of the transition, show that walking and cycling increased during this period. However there has also been a gradual increase in car journeys following an initial large reduction at the start of lockdown. [vii]Transport Scotland Covid-19 Transport Trend Data. https://www.transport.gov.scot/publications/?topic=63625

There were early indications that on certain roads (some motorways and trunk roads) the proportion of vehicles recording over the speed limits had risen during the period of the lockdown although the actual number of vehicles observed speeding had fallen by approximately 50% compared with a typical weekday or weekend prior to COVID restrictions. [viii]Parliamentary question on Covid-10 and answers by the Scottish Government Friday 15 May 2020. www.parliament.scot/S5ChamberOffice/20200515.pdf

An increasing volume of traffic on roads, some of which may be speeding, may impact on people’s safety when walking, wheeling or cycling and it is important to act to maintain the initial increase in active travel levels in the medium and longer term.

Transport Inequalities

Transport options are more limited for some households. For example:

  • Around 29% of households don’t have access to a car. This is more likely amongst low income and single pensioner households. [ix]Transport Scotland. Scottish Transport Statistics No. 38 2019 Edition. Edinburgh: Transport Scotland; 2020. https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/scottish-transport-statistics-no-38-2019-edition/
  • Those on low income are more likely to travel by bus and walk to work and have less access to bicycles. [x]Transport and Travel in Scotland 2018: Results from the Scottish Household Survey: … Continue reading This can determine access to services and facilities.
  • A higher proportion of those with long term conditions “affecting day to day living a lot” compared with those with no long term limiting health problems do not have access to a car. [xi]Transport Scotland. Scottish Transport Statistics No. 38 2019 Edition. Edinburgh: Transport Scotland; 2020. https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/scottish-transport-statistics-no-38-2019-edition/ Disabled people and those with long term health problems also experience significant transport barriers and often have more limited choices.[xii]Gates S et al. Transport and inequality: An evidence review for the Department for Transport. … Continue reading [xiii]Scottish Government National Transport Strategy: Protecting our climate and improving our lives. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Edinburgh; 2019. … Continue reading In relation to walking, wheeling and cycling, these barriers include the allocation and condition of road space.
  • Over a million people are at risk of transport poverty (Sustrans define this as people are deemed to be at risk of transport poverty when they don’t have access to essential services or work due to limited affordable transport options) in Scotland. Risk of transport poverty is considered to be greatest in areas with (relatively) low income, high car availability and low access to essential services by public transport. [xiv]Transport Poverty in Scotland, Sustrans 2016. www.sustrans.org.uk/media/2880/transport_poverty_in_scotland_2016.pdf

Current disruptions to and concern about the use of public transport [xv]COVID-19 Public Attitudes Survey Data: Wave 3. https://www.transport.gov.scot/publications/?topic=63625 may reduce the ability of these groups to reach essential employment and services, socially interact and undertake exercise or recreation. This will be particularly challenging for those who do not have access to private vehicles.

Developing the active travel infrastructure can increase transport options, particularly for these groups. [xvi]National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Physical activity and the environment Public Health Guideline ng90. 2018. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng90 [xvii]Scottish Government National Transport Strategy: Protecting our climate and improving our lives. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Edinburgh; 2019. … Continue reading This means considering for example targeting the measures at the most deprived areas as well as routes which are especially unsafe or dangerous, so more people from these areas feel that they have better environments in which they can walk, wheel and cycle safely in their local areas.

This should be accompanied locally by measures that will address the barriers to active travel including those that improve perceptions of personal safety such as maintenance and lighting, inclusive cycling initiatives, cycling training programmes and provision of bike storage facilities.

Reducing the health impacts from road transport

Enabling greater levels of active travel will also go some way to reduce the negative impacts of road traffic on health and health inequalities. These include higher levels of traffic [xviii]NHS Health Scotland Place and Communities Inequality Briefing. Edinburgh: NHS Health Scotland; 2016. www.healthscotland.scot/publications/place-and-communities which increases exposure to air and noise pollution [xix]The Marmot Review: Implications for Spatial planning www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/the-marmot-review-implications-forspacial-planning ; road traffic accidents [xx]The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents ‘Social Factors in Road Safety’ Policy Paper www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/social-factors-in-roadsafety.pdf ; injuries to both transport users and pedestrians; and community severance. [xxi]Douglas MJ et al. Health and Transport: A Guide. Scottish Health and Inequalities ImpactAssessment Network; 2018. … Continue reading

People in the poorest areas and those living on lower incomes are more likely to experience these impacts [xxii]Pearce JR, Richardson EA, Mitchell RJ, Shortt NK. Environmental justice and health: the implications of the socio-spatial distribution of multiple environmental deprivation for healthinequalities in … Continue reading even though they are less likely to have access to a car. People in low income communities are at higher risk from road crashes [xxiii] Douglas MJ et al. Health and Transport: A Guide. Scottish Health and Inequalities Impact Assessment Network; 2018. www.scotphn.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Transport-Guide2018-Final-Formatted.pdf and children on foot or bike in the most 20% deprived areas in Scotland areas are three times more likely to be involved in road accidents compared to the 20% least deprived areas. [xxiv]Geddes I, Allen J, Allen M, Morrisey L. The Marmot Review: Implications for Spatial planning. … Continue reading

Increasing the infrastructure for active travel can help reduce these negative health impacts particularly for those in the poorest areas and with the lowest incomes, as well as improving the environment. Following lockdown there were signs that air pollution caused by traffic, i.e. nitrogen dioxide levels, may have reduced. [xxv]A SPICE blog on air pollution during covid-19 lockdown. www.spicespotlight.scot/2020/05/07/guest-blog-has-the-coronavirus-covid-19-lockdown-reduced-airpollution/

Supporting people to continue to walk, cycle or wheel safely rather than use the car, especially for short local journeys, will help to maintain improved air quality with benefits for health and wellbeing. Lowering speed limits and introducing traffic calming measures, such as 20mph zones, has been found to reduce the risk of injury and death for pedestrians and cyclists. Targeting efforts to those neighbourhoods most in need can contribute to a reduction in inequalities in road casualties. [xxvi]NHS Health Scotland Place and Communities Inequality Briefing. Edinburgh: NHS Health Scotland; 2016. www.healthscotland.scot/publications/place-and-communities

In Summary

Measures to reduce the spread of Covid 19 are currently and will continue to influence the way we move around our communities. This presents challenges for those groups who experience few transport options. The measures funded by ‘Spaces for People’ have huge potential to support safe and active travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and as restrictions
are lifted.

Working with communities and linking with local public health and health improvement departments will help ensure that Spaces for People meets the needs of the local populations. This will help to protect and improve their health and wellbeing in both the short and longer term, and support the move towards a greener recovery.

You can download this article as a PDF here.

Ali MacDonald

Organisational Lead for Active, Healthy Environments,
Public Health Scotland

References

References
i Douglas MJ et al. Health and Transport: A Guide. Scottish Health and Inequalities Impact Assessment Network; 2018. www.scotphn.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Transport-Guide2018-Final-Formatted.pdf
ii Cooper E et al. Transport, health, and wellbeing: An evidence review for the Department for Transport. NatCen; 2019. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/847884/Transport__health_and_wellbeing.pdf
iii NHS Health Scotland Place and Communities Inequality Briefing. NHS Health Scotland; 2016. www.healthscotland.scot/publications/place-and-communities
iv Public Health England. Spatial Planning for Health. An evidence resource for planning and designing healthier places. Public Health England; 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spatial-planning-for-health-evidence-review
v, xxiii Douglas MJ et al. Health and Transport: A Guide. Scottish Health and Inequalities Impact Assessment Network; 2018. www.scotphn.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Transport-Guide2018-Final-Formatted.pdf
vi, xiii, xvii Scottish Government National Transport Strategy: Protecting our climate and improving our lives. Edinburgh: Scottish Government Edinburgh; 2019. www.transport.gov.scot/media/47052/national-transport-strategy.pdf
vii Transport Scotland Covid-19 Transport Trend Data. https://www.transport.gov.scot/publications/?topic=63625
viii Parliamentary question on Covid-10 and answers by the Scottish Government Friday 15 May 2020. www.parliament.scot/S5ChamberOffice/20200515.pdf
ix, xi Transport Scotland. Scottish Transport Statistics No. 38 2019 Edition. Edinburgh: Transport Scotland; 2020. https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/scottish-transport-statistics-no-38-2019-edition/
x Transport and Travel in Scotland 2018: Results from the Scottish Household Survey: https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/transport-and-travel-in-scotland-results-from-thescottish-household-survey-1/
xii Gates S et al. Transport and inequality: An evidence review for the Department for Transport. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/843487/Transport_and_inequality_report.pdf
xiv Transport Poverty in Scotland, Sustrans 2016. www.sustrans.org.uk/media/2880/transport_poverty_in_scotland_2016.pdf
xv COVID-19 Public Attitudes Survey Data: Wave 3. https://www.transport.gov.scot/publications/?topic=63625
xvi National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Physical activity and the environment Public Health Guideline ng90. 2018. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng90
xviii, xxvi NHS Health Scotland Place and Communities Inequality Briefing. Edinburgh: NHS Health Scotland; 2016. www.healthscotland.scot/publications/place-and-communities
xix The Marmot Review: Implications for Spatial planning www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/the-marmot-review-implications-forspacial-planning
xx The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents ‘Social Factors in Road Safety’ Policy Paper www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/social-factors-in-roadsafety.pdf
xxi Douglas MJ et al. Health and Transport: A Guide. Scottish Health and Inequalities Impact
Assessment Network; 2018. https://www.scotphn.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/TransportGuide-2018-Final-Formatted.pdf
xxii Pearce JR, Richardson EA, Mitchell RJ, Shortt NK. Environmental justice and health: the implications of the socio-spatial distribution of multiple environmental deprivation for health
inequalities in the United Kingdom. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 2010; 35(4): 522-539
xxiv Geddes I, Allen J, Allen M, Morrisey L. The Marmot Review: Implications for Spatial planning. http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/the-marmot-reviewimplications-for-spacial-planning
xxv A SPICE blog on air pollution during covid-19 lockdown. www.spicespotlight.scot/2020/05/07/guest-blog-has-the-coronavirus-covid-19-lockdown-reduced-airpollution/