Engage • Inspire • Learn SfP

Monitoring active travel infrastructure during Covid-19

Sustrans’ Martin Laban, Evaluation Manager for the Research and Monitoring Unit outlines the principles of monitoring and evaluation techniques in relation to Spaces for People.

Dynamic engagement

Monitoring and evaluating the impact of Spaces for People projects is more important than ever before due to the limited opportunity for engagement on temporary emergency measures that are being introduced.

Sustrans offer a broad range of monitoring techniques in support of this to help assess how Spaces for People projects are delivering for communities in response to Covid-19.

In this knowledge sharing session, Sustrans Evaluation Manager, Research and Monitoring Unit, Martin Laban discusses the value of understanding the impact of temporary measures have had throughout the UK in helping to shape future permanent infrastructure.

Guidance on standard best practice for monitoring and evaluation can be found here.

Three strategic principles

When it comes to monitoring and evaluation, there are three main strategies that can be empoyed.

  • Process Evaluation – Attempt to understand why you may or may not have achieved your outcomes. Did it relate to the how it was delivered, factors beyond control of the project, or process and approach used?
  • Look – Employ visual monitoring techniques in order to see how where your project is and isn’t working (i.e. automatic counters, manual counts, video analysis of traffic speed, volume or ATC).
  • Listen – Engage meaningfully with communities and key stakeholders to understand public perception of temporary measures (i.e. GIS and survey tools). This has been successfully employed within Spaces for People through Commonplace and Space to Move tools.

Questions Answered

  • Why is monitoring and evaluation important?
  • What strategies are most effective for understanding Spaces for People impacts?
  • How can Sustrans help support local authorities monitor and evaluate their project delivery?
  • What has monitoring and evaluation of Spaces for People interventions actually shown us?

Note: the examples shown are in no way prescriptive and are for information only. Where specific products are shown in this document, this does not constitute Sustrans’ endorsement of that product.

Case Studies News

Public health improvements for Glasgow transport hubs

As the most heavily populated city in Scotland, Glasgow is home to an extensive network of bus and rail links. John Linton/Sustrans

Creating a safe commute

As we hit six months since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the public transport sector is still facing significantly reduced demand across all services.

Compared with this time last year, bus and rail journeys in Scotland are down 50% and 70%, respectively.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in Scotland, traffic one once busy streets almost completely evaporated overnight. John Linton/Sustrans

However, with more people now returning to their physical workplaces, and with the return to schools and universities, a considerable uptake in daily public transport use is expected over the coming months.

If not managed correctly, we could see delays in journey times for passengers, and increased demand could make physically distancing near impossible.

In order to address this concern, Sustrans is working with Scottish local authorities through its Spaces for People programme to ensure that people are able to access and use the transport services they need safely.

Key case study

Central Station and Queen Street Station are the two major train stations in the heart of Glasgow city centre.

The routes covered not only facilitate travel to and from work, but also provide access to local and regional healthcare providers, grocery stores, leisure facilities and green spaces.

Over the last few months, both sites have undergone significant temporary infrastructure changes thanks to Glasgow City Council‘s £7.5 million Spaces for People project.

Queen Street station

George Street, North Hanover Street and Dundas Street provide the key access points to the newly renovated Queen Street Station.

Extensive changes to George Square have been designed to maximise physcial distancing space for people walking, wheeling and cycling, particularly around Queen Street station. JohnLinton/Sustrans

Widened footways and temporary cycle lanes installed throughout George Square and the surrounding streets ensure that those arriving by foot and wheel are able to safely and easily access any one of Queen Street station’s three entrance points.

The hope is that this will not only give people the space needed to physically distance, but will also increase the uptake of active travel in the city centre, resulting in fewer cars on the road.

Should this be effective, this will leave roads less congested for those that most need them, such as buses, taxis and emergency vehicles.

Automated crossings allow pedestrian signals to turn green automatically without any sarface contact needed. John Linton/Sustrans

Automated crossings have also been introduced in the area in order to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19 through shared surface contact points.

Central station

Each of Glasgow Central station’s four main access points now benefit from temporary changes designed to both satisfy the needs of passengers whilst making the most of the existing infrastructure.

By introducing a one-way traffic flow on Argyle Street to vehicles heading Westbound, temporary cycle lanes and widened footways could be installed along the route.

Widened footways and temporary cycle lane have made it much easier to access Central station by foot and wheel on Argyle Street whilst maintaining physical distancing. John Linton/Sustrans

Not only has this reduced traffic congestion, but people now have ample space to safely distance from one another as they enter and leave the station, as well as increased opportunities to travel actively for those journeying by bike.

Temporarily reduced access and parking restrictions at Gordon street ensure that maximum distancing space is available to people. A pop-up cycle lane has also been installed to make active travel an easier option.

Limited vehicle access, restricted parking and the addition of a temporary cycle lane on Gordon Street allows easier access to Central Station for cyclists and supports overall physical distancing surrounding the station. Sustrans/John Linton

Lastly, the installation of filtering bollards at the Union Street and Hope Street entrances help ensure that those entering and exiting the station are able to do so as smoothly as possible, whilst also minimising the physical contact time between the different streams of passengers.

Filtered bollards outside of Central station on Hope Street minimise physical contact between streams of opposing foot traffic. Sustrans/John Linton

All of these changes may prove vital in the rush of weekday commuting hours.

‘New normal’ service

Public transport is a vital link to many in accessing work, shops and services. And ensuring they can use this safely is essential to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

For people without access to a car – or for those whose journeys cannot be completed by walking, wheeling or cycling – reliable bus, train and ferry services are a necessity.

If public confidence in transport providers to protect our health is not improved we could see an increase in the use of private cars for short journeys.

It could also have big impacts on our long-term ambitions of securing a greener future for Scotland.

Changes such as those implemented through Spaces for People will take steps to make public transport safer and keep our roads clear for those who need it most.

Engage • Inspire • Learn

What can we learn from the return to school?

The majority of children in Scotland have been learning from home since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK in March. Sustrans.

Spaces for schools

It’s been just under one month since children throughout Scotland returned to school after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prior to and during time this time, Sustrans have been working with local authorities through the Spaces for People programme to ensure that children have been able to get to and from class safely.

In this week’s knowledge sharing session, Sustrans Infrastructure Officer Dan Jeffs discusses how temporary infrastructure around schools has been supporting walking, wheeling and cycling.

Dan Jeffs talks about the benefits of children travelling actively to school, both within the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Teaching active travel

There are three main ways to help parents and children travel actively to and from school:

  • School Streets
  • Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
  • Place-based measures

Whether its through speed limit restrictions, priority access times or closed streets, each of these changes moderates driver behaviour to prioritise the comfort and safety of those the school run.

Thinking smart, staying healthy

National advice very much favours children travelling to school actively where possible. The key here is in expanding what is possible.

Not only do one third of children said they would like to cycle to school if they could, but active travel to school has been shown to increase children’s concentration levels for up to four hours.

Closing roads to traffic encourages children to travel actively and see the playground in the street. Colin Hattersley/Sustrans

“Where possible your child should travel to and from school on foot, bike or scooter while maintaining physical distance.”

The regular exercise that walking, wheeling and cycling provides also helps to keep children healthy, reducing sick days and improving school conduct.

Less cars on school roads travelling at slower speeds has been shown to reduce traffic accidents.

A breath of fresh air

The Kelvin Way in Glasgow was closed to traffic earlier this year in order to provide access to green spaces and give people room to exercise. Sustrans.

Promoting health and active travel is also about contributing to a sustainable environment, an issue which will affect future generations more than anyone else.

By walking, wheeling or cycling to school instead of taking the car, our air quality has been shown to improve time and again.

With Scottish Climate week just around the corner on September 14th, and Clean Air Day on October 8th, it is now more important than ever to consider the effects our travel habits have on those most vulnerable to the consequences.

News News & Opinion

Places for Everyone match funding changes support active travel projects in Scotland

What do you need to know?

Following Transport Scotland’s announcement, Places for Everyone is pleased to be able to confirm a significant change in the match funding requirements for projects.

All projects are now eligible to receive up to 70% funding towards construction costs.

In addition, the 10% cap on pre-construction funding will now only be applied once projects reach construction, i.e. pre-construction funding will be extended 100% and any over payment will be deducted from the grant made available for construction (this will be subject to the Places for Everyone teams discretion).

The Spaces for People programme provided Scottish local authorities £38.97 million to create temporary infrastructure for walking, whee;ling and cycling as part of the Covid-19 recovery. John Linton/Sustrans

What do I need to do now?

  • Category 1-3 projects already at construction stage: Please submit a project update form on the application portal detailing any increased funding request. Where these increases are solely attributable to the increase in intervention rate they will be automatically approved. Should you be requesting increases in funding for any other reason, please include a change control with the form.
  • Category 1-3 projects at design stage: Pleaseincrease your forecast construction request the next time you provide Places for Everyone with an updated programme and spend profile; this will likely be at the next stage review for your project.
  • Category 4 projects not yet approved by Panel: Please follow the previous recommendation for category 1-3 projects. Those partners who are about to submit to Panel should ensure that their submission documents reflect any increase in grant request.
  • Category 4 projects Approved by Panel and other legacy projects in receipt of multi-year funding: Where there is an existing budget or programme revision awaiting approval, please submit revised financial information to the portal via a project update form and both these figures and any previous figures provided will be presented to a Change Control Board alongside your existing change control. If you are not otherwise waiting for approval, please submit a revised grant request via an update form and this increase will be approved.
Case Studies News

New community artwork is unveiled through Small Grants Fund in Glasgow

This piece is part of a series on the South City Way Small Grants Fund. This fund was created to inspire community groups and charities to design artworks and gathering places which encourage walking and cycling. Find out more about the South City Way.

In recent years, significant media attention has focussed on the perceived and often real cultural tensions that are seen to be present in the Govanhill area of Glasgow.

In an effort to combat this and foster new community-led integration, Govanhill Baths Community Trust (GBCT) launched a successful application with Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme, through the South City Way Small Grants Fund.

A Diverse Picture

Led by GBCT, and delivered in partnership with Southside Studios, Locavore, Romano Lav, Annette Street Primary School & Cuthbertson Primary School, the Govanhill Arts Regeneration Network (GARN) proposes a number of high profile public art pieces be installed in key sites around Govanhill in order to reflect the unique cultural diversity of the local area.

Initial designs for the installations were developed following a wide-ranging community consultation, including a charrette, in order to ensure the proposals were inclusive, as well as to facilitate a sense of ownership.

The four installations that were ultimately agreed upon will be located at various points along Victoria Road, the key route of the initial leg of the South City Way.

The Bowman Street Mural, situated at the intersection of Victoria Street and Bowman Street features images designed by the Govanhill Youth Club on the theme of cycling and urban landscape.

The imagery was created by the young people with the aid of design and workshop sessions facilitated by local artist Amelia Rowe.

“I think murals like this are important because they’re accessible to everybody, everybody sees them when they’re going about – they’re free.”

Amelia Rowe, Artist

Nadine Gorency, who led The Bowman Street Mural project on behalf of the GBCT, has been a vocal supporter of community-building initiatives such as this one which could help to promote greater integration in the Govanhill Community.

“The Bowman Street Mural celebrates the diversity of Govanhill with the local community through the arts as well as provide colour and vibrancy to the cycle lane which will in turn encourage cycling, health and wellbeing in Govanhill.”

Nadine Gorency, Project Manager, GBCT

In addition to fostering strengthened social ties, it is hoped the new mural will serve as an attractive rest opportunity for cyclists on the South City Way, increasing support for the local economy whilst also providing a safe cycle route to the city centre.

Case Studies News Places for Everyone

Young artists create new mural on Glasgow’s South City Way

Run by Crossroads Youth & Community Association, The Barn is a space for young people in Laurieston and the Greater Gorbals to relax, have fun and receive the support that they need.

Youth Workers at the charity had been looking for a bold and creative way to make their organisation a destination point, in a way that also included the local community.

Their application to the South City Way Small Grants Fund proposed installing an artwork designed by young people in the area on at the front of their building.

Creative Planning

Created to inspire local community and charity groups to propose new gathering places and artworks along Glasgow’s South City Way, the Small Grants Fund offered these groups the chance to apply for a share of over £100,000 to fund their projects.

 The funding inspired local young people to tour the murals and street art around Glasgow in order to develop their own ideas. This took them along cycle paths and into unfamiliar parts of the city that they wouldn’t usually see.

The group then put their designs together for the new collective artwork on Abbotsford Place. A local artist was recruited to help with this process as well as to assist with spraying the final piece on the wall.

The charity name Crossroads and Youth Community Association is spread across the wall against the backdrop of a pastoral meadow. A quote from the group’s founder, Geoff Shaw, is also included, and reads: “Everyone has the right to live gloriously!”
The finished collective artwork at the youth centre on Abbotsford Place.

The completed piece sees the community group’s name Crossroads and Youth Community Association spread across the wall against the backdrop of a pastoral meadow. A quote from the group’s founder, Geoff Shaw, is also included, and reads: “Everyone has the right to live gloriously!”

They also installed planters and bike racks at the front of the centre.

Local Impact

Crossroads and Youth Community Association youth worker Nick Miller, saw The Barn project through to completion from the start.

‘Now you’re just drawn to the building, and through that we’ve had people dropping in and grabbing teas and coffees. We’ve had people taking photographs of stuff, and just leaving a couple of pounds donation. So hopefully it just draws more people to the building’.

Nick Miller, Youth Worker, Crossroads Youth and Community Association

Sustrans Officer Michael Melton, is delighted with the enrichment of the South City Way.

“The Barn stands out now as a safe and creative hub for young people to gather. The mural is a really valuable addition to the South City Way route and a great example of exactly what the Small Grants Fund is for”.

Michael Melton, Infrastructure Coordinator

This piece is part of a series on the South City Way Small Grants Fund. This fund was created to inspire community groups and charities to design artworks and gathering places which encourage walking and cycling. Find out more about the South City Way.