The first Cycling Action Plan for Scotland was published in 2010 and then refreshed in 2013. The purpose of this third iteration is to gauge progress since 2010, and develop a robust set of actions that will help us achieve our shared vision of “10% of everyday journeys to be made by bike, by 2020”. This is no doubt a challenge for all stakeholders and we will work together over the next four years to ensure we have done all we can in tackling this challenge head on.
Cycling Scotland’s progress report outlined six pre-requisites for success:
A shared national vision for a 10% modal share of everyday journeys should remain, with a related clear aspiration for reduction in car use, especially for short journeys, by both national and local government.
A long term increase in sustained funding is required, with year-on-year increases over time towards a 10% allocation of national and council transport budgets as Edinburgh is achieving. The long term commitment to 2030 to dual carriageways between seven Scottish cities should be matched by an equally long term commitment to cycling if modal shift ambitions are to be met and sustained.
The national 10% modal share vision should be supported by local cycling strategies and delivery plans at council and regional levels. Local modal share objectives should be coordinated with the national vision to create a feasible route to 10%. Cities will be the driver of significant modal shift and the national vision should be directly coordinated with a specific focus on reaching at least 10% modal share in the cities and the largest urban areas, implementing best practice. The primary investment focus (as mentioned in this Cycling Action Plan) should be on enabling cycling through changing the physical environment for short journeys to enable anyone to cycle. Government at all levels needs to build and maintain staff capacity to manage cycle infrastructure and the local road network in the present financial climate.
Whilst generally agreeing with five out of the six pre-requisites, the Scottish Government’s position is that levels of transport spend cannot simply be based on percentage allocations for each transport mode. The overall transport budget must reflect existing contractual requirements, planned maintenance and upgrades and it would be wrong to arbitrarily allocate definite amounts to any one mode.
We have, however, committed to record levels of funding to 2021 as outlined in the Programme for Government. From 2014/15 – around £280 million over seven years, not including the match funding that local authorities and other key partners contribute, will be invested in active travel projects.
Also, we do have an Active Travel Vision to 2030 and a commitment to delivering a long distance walking and cycling network, as part of National Planning Framework 3, which along with the National Cycling Network and the community links programmes, will connect our main areas of population. And, in planning for dualling our trunk road network, we are including in those upgrades active travel infrastructure to ensure communities are connected safely and conveniently. Local consultation meetings for both the A9 and A96 projects have already taken place and will continue to be held over the coming years.
The Cycling Action Plan outlines in detail how we will deliver our actions and priorities, who we will work in partnership with and the timeline for delivery in 2020. It outlines that
- We remain committed to the shared vision of 10% of everyday journeys by 2020, and positively promote modal shift away from vehicle journeys which will over time reduce car use for local trips;
- We will continue to support local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships in developing local and regional active travel plans/strategies;
- We will support the six remaining Scottish cities in introducing “Bike Life” reports, similar to the City of Edinburgh’s Bike Life report, with additional support through Sustrans who led the project across the UK during 2015/2016;
- We will continue to support local authorities in building community links to the highest standard, including re-allocation of road space in favour of cycling and walking through the Community Links PLUS design competition; and
- As part of the Community Links PLUS competition, we will encourage those bidding to include sufficient and realistic levels of resource funding to enable the best possible infrastructure to be delivered on time and to budget.