Nine factors needed to boost cycling, says new research from Scottish Parliament's library

The number of cycle journeys is best increased "through the implementation of an integrated package of measures," says a new research report from the Scottish Parliament. The report was compiled by SPICe, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.

Cycling – What Works? believes nine factors have to be in play in order to increase cycling's modal share. These are:

  • POLITICAL LEADERSHIP: Boosting cycling requires "long term, strong pro-cycling political and official leadership at a national and local level."
  • INFRASTRUCTURE: Cycling must be "seen as a legitimate transport choice and accorded appropriate physical infrastructure and policy priority."
  • NETWORK THINKING: Plans have to be put in place for the "development and maintenance of a comprehensive cycle network focused on facilitating everyday cycling."
  • STANDARDISED DESIGN: Cycle networks should be "based on clear design standards aimed at ensuring direct, obstacle free travel."
  • SPACE REALLOCATION: There has to be a "willingness to reallocate road and parking space to cycling infrastructure."
  • DISCOURAGE DRIVING: Motoring should be "discouraged in city and town centres as a matter of policy."
  • INTEGRATION: Increasing cycling needs "an approach to reducing the modal share of private cars, integrating cycling with rail, bus and where available tram and subway – rather than abstracting passengers from public transport."
  • LAND USE PLANNING: Encourage "compact towns and cities and mixed use developments, which allow for shorter trips that are easily made by bike."
  • MARKETING: Promoting cycling should happen "in tandem with infrastructure development" and should be "targeted at people from all parts of society over a sustained period of time."

The report adds that the "availability of the safest possible cycle infrastructure, offering the highest level of segregation from motorised traffic, has the biggest influence on decisions to commute by bike."

Building "isolated sections of higher quality cycle infrastructure" won't work because this will be mostly used by cyclists "confident enough use the roads at either end of such facilities."

The report adds that "councillors and officials may be required to make the sometimes difficult, even potentially unpopular, decision to move/remove on-street parking or inconvenience drivers in favour of cyclists."


Spotter: David Brennan – Saturday 28th April sees the 2018 Pedal on Parliament.

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