Serious about active travel?

The difference between stated aims and delivery by government's fascinates me.   We have great statements about promoting Active Travel (walking and cycling to normal people but you need a new buzz phrase).  Now the benefits of this are huge - health from the activity itself and the increase in social interactions - economic from increased use of the local shops - environmental from the reduced CO2 emissions and reduced congestion on roads. 

But then we have the latest Scottish Government budget.  I'm going to focus on Chapter 9

There are three budget lines that relate to Active Travel:

  • Sustainable and Active Travel (SAT)
  • Cycling, Walking and Safer Routes (CWSR)
  • Future Travel Fund (FTF)
But we can not be sure that these monies are all spent on cycling and walking. 

'The budget for Sustainable and Active Travel delivers support for the promotion of more sustainable travel choices, including support for the actions in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland as well as work to promote sustainable transport to organisations and in communities, e.g. the development of a network of car clubs across Scotland. It includes funding for the core Fastlink scheme in Glasgow (£20 million in 2013-14 and £10 million in 2014-15).'


Cycling Walking and Safer Routes is money given to local authorities.  They choose how much to spend on such and how much goes directly into cycling and walking and how much is used, under the guise of safer routes for e.g. 20mph limit in urban areas.  Some local authorities all money to this fund - but for many this is the only walking and cycling budget. 


'The Future Transport Fund will reduce the impact of transport on our environment, reducing congestion and supporting better public transport, active travel and low carbon vehicles. This investment provides a platform for increasing support thereafter for a range of sustainable transport initiatives, including cycling infrastructure and freight modal shift.'

So it takes a bit of effort working outwhat is the real figure for walking and cycling.

 (figure in £ millions)                             2013-14  2014-15 Draft   2015-16 Plan
Sustrainable and Active Travel              35           29                      15
Cycling Walking and Safer Routes         5.6           8.2                    8
Future Travel Fund                                 7.7          18.7                 20.2
                                      Total                 48.3         55.9                43.2
but there are some things in this mix that have nothing do do with walking and cycling
Fastlink Bus route, Glasgow                  20           10                      0
Electric car charging points                      5             5                     5
Car clubs                                                  2              2                     2
                                     Total                 27             17                    7
so available might be:
Real figure for walking and cycling   21.3        38.9               36.2



For a country of 5.3m people and with a £2 billion (£2,000,000,000) transport budget, this is paltry - especially with an aspiration for 10% journeys to be by bike by 2020.



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