High Quality Walking, Wheeling, and Cycling Infrastructure is Available to Everyone

This Active Travel Framework outcome is examining three indicators: (5) Km of traffic-free walking and cycling facilities; (6) Distance to traffic-free cycling infrastructure; and (7) Quality of walking and cycling infrastructure.

5. Km of Traffic-Free Walking and Cycling Facilities

Data from Sustrans reports that roughly 43% of the total cycling network in Scotland is traffic free. Since its inception in 1995, the National Cycling Network has expanded from 500 miles to 16,519 miles in 2018 and has since reduced to 12,786 miles in 2020. The reduction was a consequence of removing or reclassifying almost 4,000 miles of the Network to make the National Cycling Network smaller but safer and of better quality (Sustrans, 2021).

6. Distance to Traffic-Free Cycling Infrastructure

The average distance from a Scottish household to traffic-free cycling infrastructure is 6.6 kilometres (or 4.1km, if excluding Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar). Depending on the location of a household, this distance varies from three metres to 362 kilometres (or 119km, if excluding the same islands). Thus, for some households it might be impossible to use a bicycle in a traffic-free environment, either for a short journey or for pleasure. However, this was based on the number of households per Scottish output area, calculated from the 2011 census and might be different following the 2022 census results. 

7. Quality of Walking and Cycling Infrastructure

Sustrans also captures information on the quality of the National Cycling Network. Figure 32 illustrates the difference in quality of the Network before and after removing/reclassifying parts of the Network. Overall, the quality of cycling infrastructure is predominantly good or very good (63%) and the proportion of the network considered to be very poor was reduced with this modification. However, almost one third (33%) is still considered to be of very poor quality.

As described in text.
Source: Sustrans (2021) Figure 32. Quality of National Cycling Infrastructure 2018 and 2021