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An Introduction to the Active Travel Strategy Guidance

An introduction to the updated Active Travel Strategy Guidance, where you’ll learn about recent key changes to the guidance.


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.