In 2010, the Scottish Government set out a 'vision' that 10% of all trips should be made by cycle and foot by 2020. In the recent Scottish parliamentary elections, the SNP maintained it is 'determined' to achieve this vision, but funding remains low, at 2% of the transport budget. But the government established CAPS, the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland, and its most recent report includes a heartening call to action.
CAPS 2016 Pre-requisites for Success: A successful modal shift to cycling requires the following six pre-requisites for success being met:
- 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 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.
Build and maintain dedicated cycling infrastructure, enabling people aged 8-80 to cycle on coherent cycle networks in cities and towns. This entails cohesive, comprehensive and seamless networks of on-road segregated paths in cities and, where appropriate, alongside trunk roads and busier local roads in rural areas. In the urban setting such networks will link into and incorporate existing off-road networks where they deliver direct and high quality routes. ‘Success’ should not only be measured in terms of additional kilometres of network but have a qualitative aspect, including following good practice design standards, numbers of segregated cycle lanes, and integration with public transport. Perceptions of safety and protection of non-motorised users - both of which must be tackled - will be enhanced by the introduction of measures such as 20 mph speed limits in urban settings.
Develop a long term communication plan that represents cycling as something that anyone can do, not simply a minority and is a transport mode that brings many benefits to Scotland: a healthier, less polluting nation, enjoying better public space, improved air quality and less congested streets. A continuous and consistent campaign would aim to win ‘the hearts and minds’ of the public about the benefits of cycling. Rather than about behaviour, or indeed about the environment, the main message for this campaign should be about improved quality of life for people. The economic benefits for rural and suburban areas should not be overlooked. Cycling for leisure, recreation and sport can be essential gateway activities to enable more people to try and enjoy everyday utility cycling and the economic benefits of leisure and tourism-related cycling, especially in remote areas, should not be overlooked. Programmes should reinforce different forms of cycling to maximise inclusiveness while never losing sight of the over-riding need for modal shift.