Putting down routes: building Scotland’s active travel networkSustrans Scotland

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executive summary

We provided a blueprint for developing a strategic network of Active Freeways across Scotland.


Active Freeways were included within the Scottish Government and Scottish Greens’ shared programme for government, in recognition of the fact that the lack of safe walking and cycling infrastructure was holding Scotland back from meeting its active travel targets. Sustrans Scotland wanted to help the Government understand what an Active Freeway network could look like and how the ambition could be turned into reality.


We provided a blueprint for developing a strategic network of Active Freeways across Scotland, drawing on UK and European experience to identify how the network could be successfully designed and implemented. Provided evidence for the need for an Active Freeways network and recommendations on the funding, design and signage for Active Freeways. We also examined how Active Freeways would complement other Government policies and commitments.


Our research was warmly welcomed by the Scottish Government as a contribution to the Strategic Transport Projects Review and review of transport governance. Our suggestions were used to help formulate what Active Freeways should look like, as well as highlighting the many benefits that they can bring.


This report from Transform Scotland is very welcome, and we’ll be looking carefully at its recommendations as we work on the Strategic Transport Projects Review and our ongoing review of transport governance.

Active Freeways were recommended in Phase 1 of Strategic Transport Projects Review and we have already committed £50 million to identify and build high quality inclusive and segregated cycling routes on main travel corridors to our city and town centres.

Transform Scotland’s work, alongside other views, will help us decide how to take forward our commitments to make real progress on infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Active Travel

Active Travel already greatly contributes to the nation’s health and wellbeing, to achieving our climate commitments, and to our economy. However, the lack of high quality active travel infrastructure in many communities prevents people from making their journeys by walking, wheeling, and cycling. Quality is not just about the number of routes. These routes must be part of a continuous network that is easy to find, safe and supported by a wider network of quiet routes.

We were pleased that Active Freeways now have the strong backing of the Scottish Government, and that this has been accompanied by a commitment to invest in active travel at record levels. We look forward to working with local and national governments in moving forward the swift delivery of an Active Freeway network that will benefit the whole country.

Sustrans Scotland welcomes the new report from Transform Scotland, which will certainly contribute to the formulation of what Active Freeways will look like and highlights the many benefits that they will bring.

John Lauder, Deputy CEO, Sustrans and Executive Director, Scotland


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