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Work begins to link up communities in East Renfrewshire

New year, new walking wheeling and cycling links

On 12 January 2024, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the start of construction on the ambitious £22.68 million project to upgrade and improve Aurs Road in East Renfrewshire.

The project will not only create a safer, more direct local route between Barrhead and Newton Mearns by straightening out the carriageway and replacing a weak road bridge, it will also open up all new possibilities for walking, wheeling and cycling.

£8.19 million of funding provided by Places for Everyone will deliver a new 2km active travel route between the two adjacent communities, as well as an impressive 700m waterside promenade overlooking Balgray Reservoir.

As a result of the project, residents and visitors will now be able to make safer, healthier and more sustainable everyday journeys between Barrhead and Newton Mearns.

The new waterside promenade also offers the communities an accessible space to relax or meet up with friends and family.

Further plans as part of the wider Aurs Road project include a new 4km circular route around the perimeter of Balgray Reservoir, providing unprecedented access to Dams and Darnley Country Park.

Once complete, a new accessible waterside promenade will offer people a place to relax, socialise and enjoy the scenery of Balgray Reservoir. Credit: East Renfrewshire Council

Making connections outside of the city

Often, outside of our city and town centres, a lack of safe and accessible walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure and patchy public transport links can leave communities feeling disconnected.

For households without access to a car, it also means that reaching essential, everyday destinations like their places of work, shops or health services can be difficult.

We’ve already seen the value that new walking, wheeling and cycling connections can deliver to smaller communities through Places for Everyone projects like the  completed in partnership with Scottish Borders Council in 2023.

The Balgray Active Travel Links project is another clear example of how Local Authority ambition can boost independence and choice in how communities get around, whilst also forging new links and connections.

With a combined population of almost 50,000 people, the potential impact on local travel habits throughout Barrhead and Newton Mearns can’t be overstated.

The project aims to transform journeys between Barrhead and Newton Mearns by straightening Aurs Road and building a new walking, wheeling and cycling route alongside Balgray Reservoir. Credit: East Renfrewshire Council

Partnered in community celebration

In truly frosty conditions, representatives of the project delivery teams gathered alongside Aurs Road to formally inaugurate the construction.

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director for Sustrans, shared her thoughts:

“Improving active travel links between communities outside of our cities is vital.”

“This project does exactly that by delivering an accessible and direct walking, wheeling and cycling link between Barrhead and Newton Mearns for residents and visitors alike.”

“We’re absolutely delighted to see work now starting on this project and grateful to all those who have taken part in making it a success.”

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director, Sustrans

East Renfrewshire Council Leader Owen O’Donnell added:

“Since announcing our plans for transforming Aurs Road, we’ve had a fantastic response from residents who are excited about the delivery of a much needed improved and straightened road with active travel link.”

Owen O’Donnell, Leader, East Renfrewshire Council

Signed diversion routes are in place via Stewarton Road, Nitshill Road and Darnley Road.

Funding for the wider £22.68 million Aurs Road project was received from the Glasgow City Region City Deal, made up of funding from the UK and Scottish Government and East Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government’s Bridge Fund, and developer contributions from new house building projects in the area.

£8.19 million was received for the Balgray Active Travel Links project through the Places for Everyone fund, which is backed by Transport Scotland and administered by Sustrans.

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Key updates for Places for Everyone community group partners

Future of the fund

Increasing the pace and scale of delivery of active travel infrastructure across Scotland has brought about a major period of transition for both Sustrans and Places for Everyone.

As previously communicated in November 2023, only Local Authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships and National Parks are currently eligible to apply for new Concept (Stages 0-2) funding awards. New and existing community groups can still apply for Design (Stages 3-4) funding if they have completed stage 2, applications for which will reopen on 20th March 2024.

Further to this, as Places for Everyone develops greater alignment with Transport Scotland’s Active Travel Infrastructure Fund (ATIF), the Places for Everyone programme will be drawing to a close by December 2025.

Whilst we recognise this will be disappointing, in order to ensure that existing community-led group projects are able to reach key milestones and successfully deliver through to construction, we want to identify and support all projects with your routes to delivery, supporting or facilitating discussions with relevant third parties where appropriate.

Routes to delivery

In the financial year 2024-25 Sustrans will continue to fund and manage Concept (Stages 0-2) to Design (Stages 3-4) stages. Projects with existing awards will continue until the end of your current legal agreement, end of stage where you are able to apply for this and secure a funding award, or until September 2025.

Existing community groups and organisations other than Local Authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships and National Park Authorities will be eligible to request new Construction (stages 5-7) funding via Places for Everyone during 2024/25 provided delivery can be complete by September 2025. Construction (stages 5-7) funding decisions will be made on the basis of yet to be scheduled Extraordinary Decision Making Panels.

Actions for community groups

If your project is working towards completion of Design (Stage 4) with a view to requesting Construction (Stages -5-7) funding, please discuss this with your Grant Advisor and submit an outline request expressing interest for Construction (Stages 5-7) funding indicating the timing and amount by email to PlacesForEveryone@Sustrans.org.uk.

Please also ensure to confirm when you expect to submit your final Design (Stage 4) deliverables for review so we can identify your route to delivery and anticipate funding demands and the timing of this. Requests for Construction (Stages 5-7) funding will need to demonstrate assured completion by September 2025. Construction (Stages 5-7) requests are required by deadline of 29th April 2024.

We want to thank our community group partners during this uncertain period, and to reiterate that the Places for Everyone team remains able to support projects that can complete design stages or construction by September 2025. Community-led projects occupy a unique and vital role within the active travel delivery landscape. We encourage community group partners to continue working with local authorities to discuss your route to delivery to see your ambitions progressed. 

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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 the link below: 

Places for Everyone 2021-22 Infrastructure Impact Summary Report

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

An easy read version of this summary report will also be made available on this page within the coming weeks.

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The active travel network delivering for young people in Stirling

Making it easier and safer for people to travel actively is vital for increasing the number of everyday walking, wheeling, and cycling journeys.

This means ensuring that everyone, including those groups that are most vulnerable on the road, are adequately protected.

For example, children and young people.

Places for Everyone is working with partners across Scotland to ensure that the routes we deliver are accessible and intuitive for all ages and abilities.

The Walk Cycle Live Stirling project is an excellent example of how bold yet careful designs can be used to prioritise the needs of young Scots.

Routes to success

As the main connecting route between the city centre and university, Causewayhead has massively benefitted from accessible cycling infrastructure. Copyright: Sustrans, 2023.

Children and young people regularly make essential active journeys as part of their everyday lives.

From going to and from school to seeing friends and family, walking wheeling and cycling are the earliest available modes which allow children and young people to travel independently.

Currently under construction, the £9.5m Stirling project will soon deliver an extensive network of new walking, wheeling, and cycling links across the city.

This will not only facilitate more active journeys between residential areas, transport hubs, as well as retail and hospitality venues but also key destinations for education and learning.

Traffic-calming measures and landscaping improvements have made Albert Place a more welcoming and enjoyable place for all ages. Copyright: Sustrans, 2023.

Delivered in partnership with Stirling Council, Walk Cycle Live Stirling proposes to create two major routes:

Route one, dubbed the University route, will provide a safe and accessible route between Stirling Train station and the University of Stirling, taking in iconic landmarks like Old Stirling Bridge and the National Wallace Monument along the way.

Route two, the College Route, aims to bridge the gaps between Forth Valley College and the City Centre along Albert Place, Dumbarton Road and Raploch Road, passing under the impressive shadow of Stirling Castle.

The new segregated cycle lane along Dumbarton road helps keep young people safe from heavy traffic and encourages active journeys to and from Forth Valley College. Copyright: Sustrans, 2023.

Each of these strategic corridors has been designed to be largely segregated from the traffic via physical barriers, providing comfort and reassurance for all users.

Generational change

Healthier than other modes, travelling by bike is also often cheaper more affordable than public transport and private vehicle use.

Factors such as these are ones which young adults, in particular, benefit from.

Alex Avallone, a recent graduate from the University of Stirling, shared their thoughts on what the project could mean for current and prospective students in the years to come:

“I didn’t cycle when I was studying, mostly because the roads were too busy and I didn’t feel confident doing so. I took the bus or walked. Now, I hope a lot of people will think twice and choose to cycle instead”

Alex Avallone, Graduate, The University of Stirling

Katherine Henebry, Senior Grant Advisor at Sustrans, has been working on Walk Cycle Live Stirling throughout its construction, and has high hopes for its grand opening:

“After completion, children and young people can safely travel independently along two key corridors in Stirling. These routes are a new start for foundational memories to be made – on the journey to school, as well as in the broader exploration of their hometown’s rich history and environment. We’re so proud to have worked with Stirling Council to make these journeys a reality”

Katherine Henebry, Senior Grant Advisor, Sustrans

Due be complete by Summer 2024, Walk Cycle Live Stirling is set to connect communities in the city and surrounding areas through active travel in a major way. This will be particularly transformative for children and young people.

The project received £7.1m in funding from Places for Everyone, as well as £2.5m of Scottish Government investment from the City Region Deal and £258k from Stirling Council’s developer contributions allocation.

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Changes to Places for Everyone and 2024/25 decision making timeline

2023/24 Forecasting

Thank you to all those who have continued to submit monthly financial information via the new portal system. If you have not done so, please bring your forecasting up to date as a matter of urgency.

As previously communicated, grants for 2023/24 cannot be accrued into 2024/25. Therefore, Places for Everyone must understand any need to carry forward grant by 31st October 2023, in order to request additional funds from the 2024/25 budget.

Should you incur an un-forecasted underspend in the current financial year (2023/24) and require additional funds in 2024/25, your request will only be considered once all other projects have received funding.

Concept and Design Funding

  • The application portal will be open for applications for funding towards Concept (Stages 0-2) and Design (Stages 3-4), for both new and existing projects, from the 29th November 2023.
  • Only Local Authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships and National Park Associations will be eligible to apply for funding towards new projects at this time; however existing projects being progressed by other organisations will continue to be supported and will be able to access funding for subsequent project stages.
  • The table below outlines the key dates for Decision Making Panels to be held in March and June 2024.
  • For existing projects, to ensure adequate time for final deliverables to be assessed and feedback provided, a prior deadline for submission for stage review has been set. This change will mean that the application for a continuation of funding will be greatly simplified, assuming all previous deliverables have been submitted to your Grant Advisor.
  • As with previous years, we are unable to publish an exact date for award of funding. However, we have aligned the assessment and decision-making process with when we expect to receive confirmation of funding from Transport Scotland and hope to be able to confirm the first wave of funding before Easter 2024.
  • Funding will continue to be awarded towards the same groups of stages. However, in line with recent communications from Transport Scotland, all funding will need to be spent by 31st March 2025. Funding for activities to complete the relevant stage group (Stages 2 or 4) in the 2025/26 financial year will, however, be awarded in principle.

Table of Decision Making Panels

2023

30th October 2024/25 Application Guidance Published 
29th November Open for 2024/25 Applications 
11th December Deadline to submit deliverables for Stage Review for projects moving to stages 3-4 

2024

10th January 2024/25 Application Deadline (Round 1) 
12th March  Stage 3-4 Panel 
March-April Stage 3-4 Grant Awards Announced 
28th March Stage 0-2 Panel 
March-April Stage 0-2 Grant Awards Announced 
20th March Open for 2024/25 Round 2 Applications 
3rd April Deadline to submit deliverables for Stage Review for projects moving to stages 3-4 (Round 2) 
10th April Grant claim deadline for 2023/24 projects
23rd April 2024/25 Application Deadline (Round 2)  
24th June Stage 3-4 Panel 
July Stage 3-4 Grant Awards Announced 
6th August Stage 0-2 Panel 
August Stage 0-2 Grant Awards Announced
Some dates may be subject to change depending on our ongoing funding discussions with Transport Scotland. We’ll notify you as soon as any changes are confirmed.

Construction Funding

  • As part of the ongoing Transport Scotland Active Travel Transformation Project (ATTP), the award of new construction funding will be made directly by Transport Scotland from 2024/25 onwards. All new construction applications from Local Authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships and National Park Associations should now be directed to the ATTP Fund for 2024/25, more on which will be communicated once Transport Scotland has shared further information.
  • Organisations other than the above will be eligible to receive construction funding via Places for Everyone during 2024/25, decisions on which will be made on the basis of Extraordinary Decision Making Panels. If this applies to your project, please discuss this with your Grant Advisor and submit an outline request to PlacesForEveryone@Sustrans.org.uk, confirming when you expect to submit your final stage 4 deliverables for review.
  • Places for Everyone will continue to fund existing construction commitments and any existing commitments made in principle, through to completion.
  • Places for Everyone will continue to support change controls to existing commitments.
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How smart infrastructure can help build a sustainable future

Increasing walking, wheeling, and cycling are all great ways improve physical and mental health.

However, active journeys are also a key part of the national response to the climate emergency, and our overall ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions.

Through Places for Everyone, Sustrans is working with partners all across Scotland to deliver safe and accessible active travel infrastructure.

This includes new connections linking up isolated rural communities as well as expansive city-wide networks to help people get where they need to go.

As part of this, we want to ensure that every one of our projects is delivered in as sustainable a way as possible to reduce our own carbon emissions.

So how can we do it?

Outlining the techniques

How we approach the design and procurement of construction materials during project delivery can have a big impact on our carbon output. 
 
When delivering infrastructure, it is helpful to think about what we can avoid, what we switch to as an alternative, and also what we can improve in the process.

What to avoid

Reducing the need for new construction can significantly increase project sustainability.

This might mean finding different ways to meet your goals without building new infrastructure at all, or by simply making the most out of what already exists through reuse or repurposing.

This approach encourages us to think creatively and sustainably to minimize new constructions. 

  • Utilising existing pathways: Before considering new constructions, explore if there are existing pathways that can be renovated or repurposed to suit the needs of the project. This might include old railway paths commonly used by the National Cycle Network, or old bridges that are no longer suitable for heavy vehicles but can carry lower loads.
  • Multi-purpose facilities: Rather than building new assets, we can design spaces that serve multiple purposes, thus reducing the overall need for new constructions.
  • Community Engagement: Engaging with the community can sometimes reveal alternatives and local insights that help in avoiding new constructions. For instance, local communities might propose efficient ways to repurpose existing assets that outsiders might not be aware of.
Forres Roysvale Park

In partnership with Moray Council, the Forres Roysvale Park project shows how excess road space can be used to implement sustainable drainage solutions. By narrowing the existing carriageway, a 3-metre-wide shared use path was introduced alongside tactical rain gardens. This not only provided a safe and direct link between Forres Academy and Applegrove primary and nearby residential areas, but also served to alleviate surface water issues. 

Where to switch

Opting for alternatives without compromising on quality can result in major savings to your carbon footprint.

This might involve changing the project scope, redesigning the approach, choosing different materials, or technologies that are more eco-friendly.

  • Sustainable Materials: Using recycled or recovered materials can significantly reduce the carbon emissions associated with the production of new materials.
  • Low Carbon Technologies: Leveraging technologies that are more energy-efficient or that have a lower environmental impact, e.g., using electric plant vehicles used in construction.
  • Nature-Based Solutions: Taking advantage of nature-based solutions, like creating green corridors which not only facilitate active travel but also enhance biodiversity.
  • Permeable pavements: Using permeable pavements can aid in water management, reducing the need for separate drainage systems.
Loans to Troon Railway

In partnership with South Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire Roads Alliance, an all-new traffic-free route to join the settlements of Loans and Troon was completed in 2023. As well as providing a key active travel link, the Loans to Troon route is notable for being constructed from almost entirely recycled paving materials. This serves to create an affordable, long-lasting but also sustainable connection between key trip generators, such as Marr College and Troon train station.

How to improve

Increasing the sustainability of the materials being used for construction can sway the carbon output of a project significantly.

This can involve thinking about the longevity and durability of the materials being used and, ultimately, planning for its reuse or recycling.

  • Circular Economy Principles: Applying circular economy principles might mean designing assets that can be easily dismantled and the materials reused or recycled, thereby reducing waste.
  • Long-life, low maintenance materials: Reducing the need to maintain and increasing time before resurfacing is needed in the future will help reducing carbon emitted during the lifetime of an asset.
  • Native landscaping: Integrate local plants alongside paths. These require less water and maintenance, sequester carbon, and enhance the appeal of the path, encouraging more use.
  • Inclusive Design and Aesthetic Design: Ensuring the pathway is accessible to people of all ages and abilities not only promotes inclusivity but also encourages more people to use the pathway, potentially reducing carbon emissions from reduced car use. Making the pathway attractive, possibly through the inclusion of art installations or well-designed green spaces, can encourage more people to use it, fostering a sense of community while also reducing carbon emissions through reduced car usage.
Roseburn to Union Canal

With the City of Edinburgh Council, work is underway to link the Union Canal with the North Edinburgh Path Network via a new traffic-free route. Inaccessible areas of decaying shrubland will be restored via tree planting and community gardens. This not only delivers a valuable connection from north to south, but also a new green corridor.

The above guidelines have been categorised according to the PAS 2080 Carbon Management in Infrastructure standard, which supports organisations wanting to lower emissions from their construction activities.

For further information, please see the Carbon Management in Buildings and Infrastructure report.

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Improving active links with public transport across Scotland

Across Scotland, 29% of households don’t have access to a car. 

In our major cities, this figure rises to 46% of households in Glasgow and Dundee, and 41% in Edinburgh. 

So what can we do to give everyone in Scotland fairer choices in how they get around? And how are we supporting communities in moving towards lower carbon, healthier and happier journeys?

Convenient access to transport hubs plays a key role in how people choose to make everyday journeys. Credit: Sustrans (2023).

Increasing and improving the opportunities to walk, wheel and cycle for short, everyday journeys has a huge role to play.  

But good, reliable public transport is vital for longer journeys to work, education, everyday amenities, and friends. 

And most of these longer journeys already start and end with a walk, wheel or cycle to a stop or station.   

With Scotland aiming to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20 per cent by 2030, we take a look at some of the ways we’re better connecting walking, wheeling and cycling with public transport across Scotland and making it easier to leave the car at home.

Stirling train station transformation

The regeneration of Stirling train station is a primary example of how access to train stations can be dramatically improved for walking, wheeling, and cycling. 

More than 200 bike spaces a now available at Stirling station, including for cargo bikes and adapted cycles. Credit: Sustrans (2023).

With funding provided through Places for Everyone and working closely with ScotRail, the ambitious £5m Stirling Station Gateway project delivered a complete re-design of the station forecourt. 
 
Completed in June 2023, major changes include widened footways, comfortable seating areas, landscaping works, as well as improved signage and wayfinding points. 
 
Another key feature is the increased provision of secure covered cycle storage, offering more than 140 additional cycle parking spaces and increasing the total number of cycle spaces at the station to more than 200. 
 
A large portion of the space required for these improvements was been created via changes to the carriageway and the reallocation of the taxi rank to an adjacent street. 
 
Importantly, access for blue badge holders has been entirely retained at the station, with additional spaces even being provided.  
 
Perhaps one of the biggest successes of the project, however, is how well it interconnects with the wider Walk Cycle Live Stirling project via segregated cycleways along Gooscroft Road. 
 
Delivered in partnership with Stirling Council via Places for Everyone, Walk Cycle Live Stirling aims to deliver a £9.5m city-wide active travel network. 
 
Taken together, all this has helped transform the area from an unappealing vehicle-dominated environment to one which creates space for safer, and more accessible active travel options.

Bike spaces on Borders buses

Bike storage on the X62 service, serving the Tweed Valley and Scottish Borders.

The work which Sustrans delivered with Borders Buses highlights how public transport can assist cyclists in making longer journeys without having to leave the bike behind.

With the novel creation of bike storage spaces on board, the X62 service, which serves Tweed Valley and the Scottish Borders, was able to become a fully bike-friendly route.

This involved retrofitting bike storage onto buses so that every bus operating on the X62 route would have space for a minimum of two bikes.

It also involved a change in livery, marketing and promotional materials with the aim to increase the catchment area of the bus service.

The money Sustrans provided resulted in a fully bike-friendly bus service that runs from Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders. By making buses bike-friendly, they become accessible to more people.

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Celebrations as major Glasgow cycling route reaches city centre

The South City Way has hit a major milestone by reaching Glasgow city centre.

To mark the occasion, the 2.5km route was officially opened by the Minister for Active Travel and members of the community on the 6 July 2023.

The fully-segregated, two-way cycle path has provided a high quality, direct and safe link between Glasgow’s southside and the city centre. 

It’s making it easier than ever for more people in the area to leave the car at home and make healthier and happier everyday journeys.

The route is also expected to benefit trade through improved access to the area.

The project was made possible by over £3.5 million of funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone/Community Links PLUS programme.

Glasgow City Council used their own funding as a partial match, bringing the project total to around £7m.

Construction work started on the project in December 2017 and was completed up to the Clyde in June 2023.

What is the South City Way?

The new segregated route has created a vital and accessible active travel link for local communities.

The South City Way has connected key destinations such as hospitals and medical centres, parks, businesses, academic institutions and places of worship along the cycling corridor.

The project has also improved access to public transport in the area.

To make it safer and easier to walk and wheel, pavements have been resurfaced along large parts of the route, with new crossing points installed, existing crossings improved and traffic speeds slowed through the addition of raised tables on side roads. 

These changes will make everyday walking, wheeling and cycling journeys safer, easier and more convenient for everyone. 

The South City Way also connects with National Cycle Network Routes 775 and 756 at the traffic-free Clyde-side path.

This opens up the possibility of longer trips heading east from Glasgow to Uddingston, East Kilbride and Rutherglen, and west to Clydebank, Bowling, Dumbarton, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

The South City Way has connected key destinations such as hospitals and medical centres, parks, businesses, academic institutions and places of worship along the cycling corridor. Credit: Sustrans/McAteer Photography

An innovative approach to active travel infrastructure

During the project, we worked closely with Glasgow City Council to trial two protected junctions at locations along Victoria Road.

These were the first protected junctions trialled in Scotland.

Protected junctions are road junctions that separate people travelling on foot, by cycle, and in vehicles. 

The trial was successful, with our Research and Monitoring Unit finding that between March 2019 and September 2021, the total cycle traffic through the junctions almost doubled.

More than 935,000 cycle journeys have now been recorded on Glasgow’s South City Way cycle route in the past two years. 

A project with community at its heart

The South City Way is about much more than the new connection to the city centre.

Businesses, community organisations and individuals have been at the heart of the project from the outset.  

The creation of a Community Projects Trail featuring murals, bike locking facilities, planters and much more was supported by the South City Way Small Grants Fund and led by local groups.  

This has helped make the active travel corridor an attractive, inclusive and welcoming space for everyone. 

Representatives from the Hidden Gardens, Govanhill Baths Trust, Bike for Good, South Seeds and Crossroads Youth and Community Association joined the Minister for Active Travel, Patrick Harvie MSP, and officials from Glasgow City Council and Sustrans Scotland to celebrate the South City Way launch event on 6 July.

Businesses, community organisations and individuals have been at the heart of the project from the outset. Credit: Sustrans/McAteer Photography

A cause for celebration

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister for Active Travel, Patrick Harvie MSP, said:

“I’m pleased to welcome the completion of the South City Way to Glasgow City centre.

We will soon see over a million cycle journeys on this new active travel corridor, which is yet another example of segregated infrastructure making it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys.

With the eyes of the world on Scotland for the first ever UCI 2023 Cycling World Championships, it’s schemes like this which demonstrate the shared intent of Government and Local Authorities to make cycling safer and more convenient as a means of everyday transport.

For our health, wellbeing and environment, our ambition to deliver more infrastructure like this, right across the country, has never been higher.

That’s why the Scottish Government has committed to spending at least £320 million, or 10% of the total transport budget, on active travel by 2024‑25.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Active Travel

Councillor Angus Millar highlighted the newly released cycle journey figures as clear evidence of the demand for improved cycling infrastructure in Glasgow:

“It’s great to see the difference the South City Way is making to cycling in the southside area of Glasgow. 

The cycle journey figures are remarkable and show without doubt that people want to get about Glasgow more sustainably when infrastructure is available for them to do so.

Now that the South City Way has reached the city centre, I am confident the number of people cycling on the route will continue to grow.

Concerns about safety are the number one barrier to cycling and our work to ensure safe, segregated routes in all areas of Glasgow will support more people to choose cycling for everyday journeys across the city.

We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government, Sustrans and communities across Glasgow as we deliver our commitment to create a comprehensive City Network for active travel over the course of the decade.”

Cllr Angus Millar, Glasgow City Council

Carole Patrick, Portfolio Director for Sustrans Scotland, added:

“The South City Way is about so much more than the new safe and direct connection to the city centre.

Working in partnership with Glasgow City Council through our Scottish Government-funded Places for Everyone programme, we are so proud of the fact that local communities have been at the heart of the project.

Businesses, community organisations and individuals have really embraced the opportunities for the southside.

The community-led projects supported by the Small Grants Fund have had such a powerful impact in making the South City Way corridor an attractive, inclusive and welcoming space for everyone. 

Putting communities at the heart of projects and investing in safe, high-quality infrastructure which makes it easier to leave the car at home and walk, wheel or cycling for everyday journeys is a winning combination.

Monitoring in 2019 and 2021, before and after the innovative protected junctions were installed, recorded a 100% increase in cycling journeys – and recent sensor figures show that the South City Way is supporting and encouraging more and more people to make healthier and happier journey choices.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to build on the success of the South City Way and make it easier for even more people to walk, wheel and cycle.”  

Carole Patrick, Portfolio Director, Sustrans Scotland
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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