The Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) initiative was developed to encourage more people to reduce their car use in favour of more sustainable alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport. This supports many Scottish Government policies, including the Active Travel Vision, the Climate Change Plan and Cleaner Air for Scotland. SCSP is the Scottish Government’s key travel behaviour change programme.

The traditional response to an increased volume of cars has typically been "hard measures" - physical improvements such as creating road space and traffic controls. We recognise, however, that this is unsustainable. It creates places that rely on motorised transport and is ultimately detrimental to people seeking active or sustainable transport.

Our new focus is on infrastructure designed around walking, cycling, shared car use and public transport. This could play an integral part of future proofing places, enabling multi-modal travel instead of single-occupancy car travel. In the Scottish Government's publication Designing Streets (2010), you can read the guidance that puts "place and people before the movement of motor vehicles."

As well as the infrastructure, the Scottish Government recognises the need for behaviour change initiatives to achieve mode shift. SCSP aims to reduce single occupancy car use and encourage walking, cycling, car share and public transport. Some of the projects supported include free maps with walking and cycle routes, personal travel planning, public events, marketing, free bike repair and financial incentives to use public transport. The projects can also include new services that seek to promote modal shift, such as a lift share website encouraging a shift from single occupancy car use to multi-occupancy usage.

SCSP was rolled out across Scotland in 2015/16, in partnership with local authorities. Paths for All administer the programme - see more on their web site.

Pilot schemes

Seven communities across Scotland undertook pilot schemes between 2008 and 2012 - you can read about those on the following pages. The results showed that changes in travel habits are possible.


GoSMART Dumfries

GoSMART Dumfries was a project with the aim of encouraging both residents and visitors to Dumfries to reduce their car use in favour of more sustainable modes of travel. It was part of the wider Smarter Choices, Smarter Places scheme that sought to increase the use of sustainable and active travel across Scotland.

The partnership between Dumfries and Galloway Council and South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWestrans) represented £5.4 million in investment, of which more than £2.7 million came from the Scottish Government. A further £1.2 million was committed through European Union funding.

Our aims

The overall aim of GoSMART Dumfries was to promote smarter travel choices by encouraging people to GoBike, GoBus, GoWalk and GoShare. We wanted people to increase their levels of walking and cycling to improve their health, foster social inclusion and help with their finances.

We also had the ambitious target of at least a 5% reduction in single occupancy car trips, with at least half of these as the result of switching to walking and cycling.

What we delivered

Delivered between 2009 and 2012 GoSMART Dumfries delivered a package of localised measures comprising a mix of infrastructure improvements, promotion, information provision and practical support for people wishing to adopt sustainable travel methods.

These included:

  • travel demand management through parking control and 20 mph zones
  • personalised travel planning
  • bus network improvements
  • introduction of a Car Club and promotion of salary sacrifice for cycle to work
  • self-service cycle hire scheme
  • promotion of journey sharing through use of Dumfries and Galloway Tripshare database
  • improvement to transport interchanges in Dumfries
  • introduction of park and choose sites
  • development of high quality radial green commuter routes
  • research on the carbon footprint of transport initiatives

Read the full report from the project


Dundee Travel Active

Dundee Travel Active was the campaign created by Dundee City Council to encourage residents and visitors to central Dundee to adopt healthier lifestyles by reducing their car use in favour of more sustainable and active modes of travel.

The team behind Dundee Travel Active was a collaboration between:

  • Dundee City Council
  • Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership (Tactran)
  • Sustrans
  • local bus companies
  • NHS Tayside
  • University of Dundee

Dundee Travel Active wanted to change both attitudes and behaviour towards healthy and sustainable travel. Between 2009 and 2012, £2.1 million was invested to make this happen, with £1.4 million of that coming from the Scottish Government.

What did we deliver?

The Dundee Travel Active team delivered a number of interventions. These included:

  • cycle training for families aimed at raising awareness of the inherent health benefits associated with cycling and encouraging greater bike use
  • Personalised Travel Planning (PTP) targeted at 13,000 households
  • provision of information and resources to encourage the use of existing local services, and to promote shorter journeys by foot or bike and longer journeys by public transport
  • a bike loan scheme aimed at encouraging people to try out cycling without the long term commitment of buying a bike
  • identifying physical barriers such as poor surfacing and drainage, narrow pathways or poor lighting that would put people off walking
  • public realm enhancements and small scale infrastructure improvements
  • working with health providers to deliver advice on how to incorporate physical activity into daily travel activities
  • targeted primary aged children and their parents through school travel plans
  • promoted sustainable transport options at local universities by working with students and staff

Ongoing work

The Dundee Travel Active team haven't given up. Using Air Quality Funding and mainstream revenue, they are continuing their SCSP work and are expanding many of the interventions to areas outside of central Dundee.

Ongoing SCSP work includes:

  • working with every primary school in Dundee to deliver a programme of in-class sustainable travel workshops
  • working with Positive Steps, a local social enterprise group, to deliver PTPs within the community.

The plan was delivered successfully and it fostered a culture of working with the community to encourage healthier travel habits. The project had positive impacts, including:

  • social inclusion
  • working with the community
  • helping reduce emissions
  • working towards an integrated transport system

Read the full report from the project

Kirkintilloch and Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire

Healthy Habits

Healthy Habits was the name of the SCSP project in Kirkintilloch and Lenzie. It was created by East Dunbartonshire Council to achieve a shift in attitude that encouraged people in Kirkintilloch and Lenzie to get healthier by choosing more active forms of transport such as walking and cycling.

The Scottish Government invested £600,000 of the £1 million budget, which was spent between 2009 and 2012 on a combination of hard and soft local measures. We made small infrastructure improvements, implemented personalised travel planning and offered practical support for anyone wishing to adopt sustainable travel methods.

Our aims

The overall aim of the Healthy Habits programme was to deliver interventions that would encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles by choosing to walk or cycle more for local journeys. The area of Kirkintilloch and Lenzie was identified as an area that would benefit from ‘smarter interventions’ due to a mix of local characteristics:

  • wide socio-economic variations
  • differences in life expectancy, health and smoking statistics
  • opportunities for active travel due to the area having many outdoor attractions

A new link road connecting Kirkintilloch and Lenzie to the M80 diverted traffic off the local roads, making it an ideal place for an SCSP pilot scheme.

What we delivered

To achieve these aims, we implemented a series of strategic interventions, including:

  • infrastructure improvements such as improved crossing points, signage and path enhancements
  • Travel Plan Central, which targeted major employment areas with an integrated travel plan
  • dissemination of local travel information to encourage the community to travel actively to local shops, services and parks

The Healthy Habits programme was successful in delivering interventions that resulted in positive impacts through:

  • raised awareness of the benefits of active travel
  • increased proportion of trips made by foot
  • improved perceptions of the walking environment
  • increased trips made by bus

Ongoing work

The Healthy Habits programme has enabled sustainable transport to become strongly embedded within East Dunbarton Council’s policies and programmes.

We have started numerous projects and received further investment to create a comprehensive active travel network within the East Dunbarton area. Investment includes both physical infrastructure improvements and promotional activities in the form of forums, workshops, events and public consultations.

The continuation of the Healthy Habits programme will enable the communities of East Dunbartonshire to lead healthier and more active lives.

Read the full report from the project

Barrhead, East Renfrewshire

Go Barrhead!

Go Barrhead! is a campaign created by East Renfrewshire Council to increase sustainable travel as part of Transport Scotland's SCSP programme. It involved an investment of £1.3 million, including £800,000 from the Scottish Government, between 2009 and 2012.

The council worked with:

  • Sustrans
  • Cycling Scotland
  • SPT
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce
  • Strathclyde Police

Our aims

Go Barrhead mixed hard measures, such as high-quality infrastructure changes, and softer measures such as behavioural change projects, to foster a healthier lifestyle. Projects encouraging smarter choices were delivered primarily to local children, residents and employees.

The effects of engaging with the local community were cumulative. We created an environment that enabled more sustainable travel options, tackling climate change by reducing inappropriate car use. In turn, this led to healthier travel, while lowering both CO2 emissions and traffic congestion.

What we delivered

To achieve these aims, we implemented the following measures:

  • Personalised Travel Planning (PTP)
  • walking and cycling for health initiatives
  • information to encourage bus and rail travel
  • bike parking at primary and secondary schools
  • improving paths and pedestrian facilities at Dams to Darnley Country Park
  • Barrhead High school travel group and Smarter Barrhead schools project
  • East Renfrewshire Council travel plan pilot, working with businesses to promote sustainable travel
  • Go Greener event
  • Auchenback health and open space project, which involved the creation of a new Community Park as a result of innovative resident engagement
  • cycling was put on the curriculum at Barrhead and St. Luke’s High schools
  • installation of pedestrian ‘way finding’ signage using time rather than distance
  • local and strategic path improvements
  • bus infrastructure improvements

The Go Barrhead! project received awards for its achievements, including a Cycling Scotland Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Cycling Promotion for the Go Barrhead! schools project’ and a Bronze COSLA Excellence Award for the Go Barrhead! project in the category of ‘Tackling Inequalities and Improving Health’.

Our successes included a high brand awareness of Go Barrhead!, a strong increase in walking trips, and improved perceptions of active travel. Local data collection carried out by East Renfrewshire Council showed that cycling levels had increased by an impressive 592% at ten count sites between March 2009 and March 2012.

Ongoing work

Building on the success of Go Barrhead!, East Dunbartonshire Council have started a number of projects, including:

  • continuing to brand sustainable transport initiatives with the Go Barrhead! branding and making continuous incremental improvements to infrastructure
  • expanding ‘Smarter Measures’ into other East Renfrewshire communities including Neilston and Clarkston
  • taking action on the findings and suggestions gathered from the PTP project by working with Renfrewshire Council to create a link to Paisley
  • continue to deliver grassroots projects by providing support to local groups such as the Neilston Bike Hub and the Barrhead MetroVelo

Read the full initiative report

Larbert and Stenhousemuir, Falkirk

Take the Right Route

Take the Right Route was the campaign created by Falkirk Council to achieve a shift in attitude that encouraged people in the communities of Larbert and Stenhousemuir to reduce their car use in favour of more sustainable modes of travel.

The Scottish Government invested £900,000 between 2009 and 2012, contributing to the overall budget of £1.3 million. As with the rest of SCSP, Take the Right Route involved a combination of infrastructure changes and behaviour change measures.

Our aims

The area of Larbert and Stenhousemuir was identified as an area for the SCSP pilot scheme, as 76% of residents travelled to work by car. High levels of car ownership and health issues related to obesity and sedentary lifestyles further made a strong case for progressing the scheme here.

The area was also subject to new developments in the form of the new Forth Valley Hospital, a new school development and the regeneration of the town centre.

Falkirk Council’s overall aim was to encourage people to ‘Take the Right Route’ by choosing more sustainable travel options such as walking, cycling and public transport in order to:

  • reduce car dependency
  • increase physical activity
  • reduce emissions
  • descrease congestion
  • promote Larbert and Stenhousemuir as a sustainable place to live

What we delivered?

Take the Right Route encouraged a modal shift in transport through a series of projects based on marketing the benefits of active and sustainable travel. We also put in place physical improvements in the form of paths, signage and cycle infrastructure.

Projects included:

  • high profile marketing campaign using the Take the Right Route brand
  • Personal Travel Planning through door-to-door visits to all 8,309 households and 25 local travel clinics at public events, delivering 27,000 pieces of sustainable travel information
  • welcome packs for new residents containing Personal Travel Planning materials to allow residents new to the area to travel actively
  • developing a walking and cycling network by putting in place cycling and walking infrastructure improvements
  • a network of signs to key destinations were put in place to encourage people to walk and cycle
  • new cycle storage was installed at key locations to provide secure trip-end facilities to encourage people to cycle

Ongoing work

Take the Right Route was delivered successfully with impressive results in behavioural and attitudinal changes. Independent research demonstrated:

  • mode share for walking increased by 21.4%
  • positive views increased towards local walking facilities and perceptions of safety and security
  • the perception of travelling by bus improved with people viewing accessibility, frequency, information and feelings of security positively
  • attitudes toward cycling improved in the area particularly around facilities for cycling such as improved cycle paths and parking
  • local awareness of the ‘Take the Right Route’ programme was good with 65% of respondents saying they were aware of the programme as ‘getting people more active’ and ‘getting people to use cars less’ and 71% of respondents recognising the ‘Take the Right Route’ logo

The Take the Right Route programme has created positive impacts in the local area through better access to local facilities, community development, support for the local economy, reduced emissions, regeneration and road safety.

The programme has now been expanded throughout the Falkirk area and interventions continue to be delivered in the form of school and business travel planning, infrastructure improvements to cycling and walking facilities and wide scale marketing, including the use of Cycling Scotland’s ‘Give Me Cycle Space’ campaign in the Grangemouth area.

Read the evaluation report

Glasgow East End

On the Move

Glasgow City Council’s On the Move was an East End accessibility project to encourage residents and visitors in Glasgow’s East End to foster healthier lifestyles by adopting sustainable and active modes of travel.

Delivered between 2009 and 2012 the project represented an investment of £2.5 million – of which more than £1.3 million came from the Scottish Government – to deliver a package of localised measures that comprised a mix of infrastructure improvements, an intensive sustainable transport marketing campaign and practical support for people wishing to adopt sustainable travel methods.

Our aims

Glasgow’s East End was chosen as a target area for the On the Move initiative in order to promote active travel with a particular focus on the Glasgow venues for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and to meet current challenges facing the area, which include:

  • income and social deprivation
  • economic inactivity
  • issues related to chronic ill health and child obesity
  • male life expectancy 10 years lower than the Scottish average
  • access to employment, education and leisure opportunities
  • increased levels of heart disease, drug and alcohol related deaths.

The primary aims of the On the Move initiative were:

  • to improve the health of Glasgow’s East End residents and visitors by increasing physical activity through providing the means and encouragement to travel actively and safely as part of a regular daily routine
  • to promote active and sustainable travel in the East End and Commonwealth Games venues, with a primary focus on encouraging spectator trips to the Glasgow venues to be made by non-car modes in 2014
  • to increase levels of walking and cycling to work and study
  • to reduce car use and subsequent transport related CO2 emissions
  • to leave a lasting legacy for local residents and future venue users after the 2014 Commonwealth Games

What we delivered

The On the Move initiative delivered a series of ambitious projects, including:

  • upgrade of the Clydeside National Cycle Network Route 75i
  • implementation of new cycle routes segregated from the traffic from Glasgow Green to Games Village and the Merchant City to Parkhead Cross
  • installation of signage to direct cyclists and pedestrians
  • On the Move behaviour change campaign promoting the benefits of active and sustainable travel
  • community outreach programme

Ongoing work

The On the Move project was delivered successfully with positive impacts on the physical environment, supporting community development, reducing emissions, regeneration and improving road safety.

The cycling and walking routes that were installed as part of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places project have now been supplemented by the construction of a new footbridge across the River Clyde at Dalmarnock, a Clyde Gateway road, which crosses at London Road, next to the Emirates Arena, and the provision of cycle lanes and links to the National Cycle Route 75 at Rutherglen Bridge.

Read the full report on work in Glasgow's East End

Kirkwall, Orkney

Kick Start Kirkwall

Kick Start Kirkwall was the campaign created by Orkney Islands Council to encourage both residents and visitors to Kirkwall to reduce their car use in favour of more sustainable modes of travel.

Of the £1.28 million investment, more than £760,000 came from the Scottish Government. This was invested between 2009 and 2012 and included both infrastructure changes and behavioural change measures such as marketing and personal travel planning.

Our aims

The area of Kirkwall was identified as an area for SCSP as most of Kirkwall’s working age residents live within three miles of their place of work, so only 43% of them drive to work. Despite changeable weather and lack of winter daylight, Kirkwall already has walking (33%) and cycling (4%) levels significantly higher than the national average.

The Kick Start Kirkwall project sought to achieve a change in mind-set by encouraging the philosophy that ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’.

The project sought to achieve more active and sustainable travel choices by delivering behavioural change campaigns and putting in place walking and cycling infrastructure improvements.

What we delivered

We implemented a series of interventions as part of the Kick Start Kirkwall programme. These included:

  • creating continuous path links by filling in missing links in the path network and improving footways in the Quoybanks area to Home Zone standards
  • creating better sustainable access to housing and schools
  • developing travel maps and carrying out Personalised Travel Planning
  • establishing a GP referral system for patients to take up active travel opportunities
  • cycle training and School Travel Planning in schools
  • devising a system whereby road works do not disrupt access for pedestrians, cyclists, pushchairs and wheelchair users
  • carrying out bus service improvements, which included bike racks and connections to all fights
  • Way Finding strategy to improve mapping and signing
  • constructing a ‘Path to Health’ walking route
  • travel training for young people with special needs, older people and visitors with disabilities
  • researching car culture on the island communities

Ongoing work

The Kick Start Kirkwall programme helped create support for the local town centre, enabled better access for older and disabled people. We also invested in information about the local area and created opportunities for health improvement by increasing physical activity.

Project monitoring has shown that Kirkwall has experienced positive changes since programme implementation. Most notably:

  • the proportion of all trips made by car as a driver has dropped
  • Kirkwall has maintained its high walking rates
  • public awareness of the ‘Kick Start Kirkwall’ programme was high
  • frequency of the airport bus service has increased
  • bus passenger figures increased by 12% between 2010 -11 and by 8% between 2011-12
  • positive perceptions were recorded towards the built environment and access to services.

The Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme in Orkney is still continuing with a number of projects being carried out such as:

  • weekly walking groups
  • promotion of Cycle to Work scheme to Orkney Island Council and NHS Orkney
  • walking bus initiatives.
  • promotion of HITRANS car sharing scheme
  • review of car parking strategy to encourage more sustainable modes
  • review of bus services

Read the evaluation report

Final Report

The SCSP projects were monitored and evaluated by the Derek Halden Consultancy, the University of Aberdeen, and integrated Transport Planning.

We observed the following changes in travel behaviour:

  • an increase in walking trips in all areas, five of which were statistically significant.
  • an increase in cycling in five of the seven areas, although the statistics were not significant enough to draw conclusive results on the impact of SCSP.
  • bus trips decreased in five of the seven areas, declining more among people in households without a car. Saving money by switching to active travel appears to have been a factor affecting the change.
  • the mode share for car driving decreased in all seven areas, with statistically significant decreases in four of the seven areas. In all seven areas, the decrease in the number of trips as car driver was greater that the change in comparable areas.
  • car passenger trips increased in five of the seven areas, including three statistically significant increases in three areas. One area also included a significant decrease in this mode of transport.

It was also possible to see a shift in attitudes in the pilot scheme communities:

  • attitudes towards the local community and neighbourhood generally become more positive in the SCSP pilot areas, particularly in relation to perceptions of the built environment. General ratings of the neighbourhood as a place to live improved more than in comparable locations as measured in national data.
  • attitudes towards walking and cycling and the associated infrastructure generally became more positive in the SCSP pilot areas particularly in relation to investment in new cycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
  • attitudes to bus travel generally improved in the SCSP pilot areas, with the exception of perceptions of bus fares which generally declined markedly.
  • changes in attitudes towards car use were complex. Although it was clear in most areas that people had an increasingly positive attitude towards car use, there were also indicators in some areas that people increasingly recognised that reducing car use would be a good thing to do from a community or personal perspective.

Read the complete evaluations below: