Cycling by Design - Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) Record

Description of Policy

Title of policy / strategy / legislation

Publication of refreshed Cycling by Design guidance.


Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights

Lead Official

Karen Russell, Head of Standards

Officials involved in the EQIA

Stuart Logan, Active Travel Infrastructure Policy Lead

Karen Armstrong, Team Leader Accessible Travel Policy

Suzanne Motherwell, Principal Research Officer, Transport Analytical Services


DG Economy

Transport Scotland – Roads Directorate

Is this new policy or revision to an existing policy?

The guidance will contribute to policy delivery, rather than being policy itself.


The screening of the policy shows that people will be affected (directly or indirectly) by the guidance in the document as it is applied to new and improved permanent cycling infrastructure in Scotland, so an Equality Impact Assessment is required.

Policy Aim

The document will contribute to policy delivery, rather than being policy itself. The aim of the guidance is to enable designers to consider the effects that design decisions have on a range of cycle users, as well as the impact on people walking and wheeling. The focus of the guidance is on high quality cycling infrastructure that will be attractive to all potential cycle users, particularly new, returning or less confident users, to make cycling a practical and attractive choice for everyday and occasional journeys.


The last major refresh of the Cycling by Design guidance was published by Transport Scotland in 2010. The document was designed to draw together and rationalise existing cycle design guidelines into a single, comprehensive reference document which could be used as a source of sound technical advice. With this 2010 version of the guidance, Transport Scotland required consultants and contractors working on trunk road projects to follow the guidance and the document was commended to local authorities.

In June 2018, the Active Travel Taskforce report was published by Transport Scotland, making a number of recommendations “to improve delivery of the ambitious and inclusive walking and cycling projects in Scotland that will help to create high quality places and communities that support health and wellbeing”. This report was developed in partnership with stakeholders, members of the public, and community councils. One of the actions being taken forward from the report’s recommendations is this refresh of Cycling by Design, and that this should be used by all Local Authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships as a minimum requirement.

Transport Scotland has overseen the delivery of a refreshed Cycling by Design guidance document to incorporate emerging best practice, in addition to widening its scope to include local roads, streets and paths in Scotland.

Link to Wider Policy

The application of Cycling by Design will allow practitioners to contribute towards national and local policy objectives, such as reducing emissions, tackling congestion and improving physical and mental health. The guidance enables designers to consider the effects that design decisions can have on a range of cycle users as well as people walking and wheeling as they interact with the infrastructure. This will ensure that cycle infrastructure is developed as part of holistic street design to allow designers to fully implement the Scottish Government’s Sustainable Travel Hierarchy within the National Transport Strategy (NTS2).

Funnel diagram showing the sustainable travel hierarchy, namely that walking and wheeling is the highest priority, then cycling, then public transport, then taxis and shared transport, and finally private cars
Figure 1: The Sustainable Travel Hierarchy (National Transport Strategy 2)

The above Figure 1 illustrates that the Sustainable Travel Hierarchy in the National Transport Strategy 2 promotes walking and wheeling, cycling, public transport, shared transport options such as taxis in preference to single occupancy private car use for the movement of people.

Encouraging people to make these choices also links with the vision and priorities of the NTS2. The guidance directly supports each of the Priorities and Outcomes of the NTS2.

Application of the updated Cycling by Design guidance will also contribute positively to the development of the following policies and strategies:

  • National Planning Policy, by establishing national guidance on how to plan cycle networks, implement attractive cycling infrastructure, and support the enhanced integration of land use planning and sustainable transport planning as presented in Scottish Planning Policy and the National Planning Framework (NPF3). A revised NPF4 is currently being consulted upon, with new policy positions on low carbon developments and 20-minute neighbourhoods proposed, which Cycling by Design guidance will also support.
  • Active Travel Task Force report recommendations, by providing best practice design guidance that will allow a more cohesive cycle network to be developed.
  • Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS) 2017 - 2020, Active Travel Framework and Cycling Framework for Active Travel (in development) by ensuring that future cycle infrastructure is attractive to new users who are not confident or experienced enough to use the current network, and thereby increasing cycle update.
  • Trunk Roads Cycling Initiative in Annex E of the CAPS 2013, by providing clear guidance to designers on the quality of cycle infrastructure that should be developed alongside trunk road improvements.
  • National Walking Strategy, by ensuring that the built environment is developed in a way that also allows for high-quality walking and cycling facilities.
  • Local and Regional Active Travel Action Plans, by ensuring the design requirements for future networks are clear.

Relationship with other Related Guidance

Cycling by Design shall be the primary reference for the design of cycle infrastructure in Scotland, and it has been developed to be used in association with the following design guidance documents:

Cycling by Design will also inform Places for Everyone, a funding stream administered by Sustrans with the aim of creating safe, attractive, healthier places by increasing the number of trips made by walking, wheeling and cycling for everyday journeys.

Who will it affect?

The Cycling by Design guidance can potentially impact upon all people interacting with new and improved permanent cycle infrastructure on roads, streets and paths in Scotland.

What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?

The guidance will remain under continual review and be updated as and when required to ensure best practice is maintained in response to emerging developments elsewhere and information arising from research. During development of the design guidance a number of evidence gaps were identified in relation to some design details and research has been commissioned on these areas with a view to informing future updates of the guidance.

For successful delivery of the aims of the guidance it will require to be complemented by measures such as training of practitioners, education outreach for all road users, and local education campaigns where new infrastructure is provided.


Published Date 27 Jul 2023 Type Mode of transport