Annex A - Policy links

Policy and Guidance Overview

Figure 1 shows how the Cycling Framework is aligned to the Active Travel Outcomes Framework and the wider policy context.

Cycling Framework for Active Travel

    • Infrastructure Investment Plan
    • Place Based Investment
    • National Planning Framework 4
    • National Walking Strategy
    • Climate Change Plan
    • Rail Holdings Strategy
    • Active Scotland Delivery Plan/Public Health Outcomes
    • Road Safety Framework
    • Strategic Transport Projects Review 2
    • Local Authority Transport Strategies
    • National Transport Strategy 2
    • Accessible Travel Framework
Figure 1 - Cycling Framework for Active Travel

The Framework and Delivery Plan are aligned with key strategic policy and guidance documents, which are summarised below.


Scotland’s National Transport Strategy 2 (NTS2)

NTS2 sets out an ambitious vision for the transport system for the next 20 years that, ‘We will have a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system, helping deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors’. The vision is underpinned by four priorities: reduces inequalities; takes climate action; helps deliver inclusive economic growth; and improves our health and wellbeing. The priorities are not independent of each other and the promotion of active travel, for example, will help us take climate action whilst improving health and wellbeing. Successful delivery of the strategy is dependent on effectively managing demand for transport and active travel, alongside public transport, is the preferred choice for people making short journeys. The first NTS2 Delivery Plan set out the broad actions the Scottish Government is taking to deliver on its vision and priorities to the end of March 2022, taking account of the impact of COVID-19.

Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 (STPR2)

STPR2 is a Scotland-wide review of the strategic transport network across all modes. It will inform the Scottish Government’s investment programme in Scotland over the next 20 years and help to deliver the vision, priorities and outcomes for transport set out in the National Transport Strategy (NTS2). It will align with other national plans such as the Infrastructure Investment Plan, National Planning Framework (NPF4) and the Climate Change Plan.

The recommendations set out in STPR2 represent a repositioning of Scottish Government’s transport investment priorities. The focus has shifted away from catering for unconstrained traffic growth and demand for travel, towards how transport can help protect the climate and improve lives. Improving active travel infrastructure to encourage more people to walk, wheel and cycle more often, is now a key investment area, recognising the benefits of: cutting carbon emissions; reducing inequalities by improving access to jobs, services and leisure; creating more pleasant places to live; improvements to people’s health; and supporting sustainable economic growth, amongst others.

STPR2 was published on 20 January 2022 and the 12 week formal consultation on the 45 draft recommendations, closed in mid-April. The draft recommendations in respect of active travel which, when taken together would combine to provide a high quality, safe, nationwide active travel network connecting Scotland’s communities, can be found at the following link: Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 | Transport Scotland

Climate Change

In December 2020, the Scottish Government produced its Update to the Climate Change Plan (CCP), which sets out the approach to delivering a green recovery, with a focus on the period up to 2032. The transport related components of the plan build upon the new National Transport Strategy, with a specific commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030.

In our route map for achieving the 20% reduction in car use by 2030, we developed a framework of sustainable travel behaviours that is applicable in both rural and urban settings as well as for those with a variety of transport mobility needs.

The behaviours are: make use of sustainable online options to reduce your need to travel; choose local destinations to reduce the distance you travel; switch to walk, wheel, cycle or public transport where possible; and to combine a trip or share a journey to reduce the number of individual car trips they make, if a car remains the only feasible option.

The aim is to empower people to choose an option that fits their circumstances and trip-purpose needs. The route map sets out the actions we will take between now and 2030 to support each of the four behaviours. In the near-term these are predominantly actions to encourage alternative behaviours, however we are also committed to exploring options to discourage car use, in line with the NTS2’s priority to reduce inequalities, including publishing a Demand Management Framework by 2025.

The Place Based Investment Programme and Framework

A place-based approach can help to ensure that future local investment is relevant to local communities for the benefit of local people, bringing relevant services, enterprise, and communities together to make our towns, villages, and neighbourhoods more viable and sustainable.

The Place Based Investment Programme and Framework builds on existing good work across Scotland to provide a mechanism for how place-based working can be implemented effectively. The Framework adopts the Place Principle to ensure that all major spending programmes take a place-based collaborative approach across funding streams.

National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4)

The Scottish Government has adopted a new spatial plan for Scotland that will look ahead to 2050 to set out where future development can bring benefits for people, the economy and environment. The fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) is a plan for what Scotland, as a place, could and should look like in 2050 led by the following six spatial principles:

  • Just transition
  • Conserving and recycling assets
  • Local living
  • Compact urban growth
  • Rebalanced development
  • Rural revitalisation

By applying these spatial principles, our national spatial strategy will support the planning and delivery of sustainable, livable and productive places. The aim of NPF4 is to help stimulate the green economy by facilitating innovation, greener design and place-based solutions. Relevant key opportunities set out in NPF4 to achieve this include building 20-minute neighbourhoods; promoting high quality walking, wheeling and cycling environments. This will strengthen support for development in town centres and restricting out-of-town retail and leisure to help us transition away from car-dependent developments; stimulating new models of low carbon living in rural areas as well as towns and cities.

Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030

The Road Safety Framework to 2030 has as the vision for Scotland to have the best road safety performance in the world. The framework embeds the Safe System approach to road safety delivery as set out in the NTS2 Delivery Plan. The explicit, longer-term goal of the Safe System is for a road traffic system that becomes free from death and serious injury through incremental, targeted improvements within a specified safety performance framework. The framework has a renewed focus on pedestrians and people who cycle, including a specific casualty reduction target and intermediate measure for cyclists.

ScotRail Trains Ltd Strategy

ScotRail has developed a strategy aimed at delivering a railway that enables the increased use of walking, wheeling and cycling as part of all passenger journeys. This will seek to contribute to key national policy objectives for sustainable travel and the health and wellbeing of the nation. This strategy focuses on improving three key aspects of the Active Travel Journey: “On-train, At station, and First & Final mile”.

Going Further: Scotland’s Accessible Travel Framework, 2016

The Accessible Travel Framework has the vision that all disabled people can travel with the same freedom, choice, dignity and opportunity as other citizens. Equity of access to cycling, and ensuring that cycling infrastructure is not a barrier to disabled people, is central to this Cycling Framework.

Active Scotland Delivery Plan

The Scottish Government’s ‘Active Scotland Delivery Plan’ is a partnership-based plan to encourage and support people in Scotland to be more active, more often. The ambition for the plan is to achieve a 15% relative reduction in the prevalence of physical inactivity in adults and in adolescents by 2030 and it includes reference to the important role that walking and cycling can play in helping to achieve this


The framework also acknowledges that action taken forward by the Scottish Government and its partners must be consistent with existing guidance and best practice.

Cycling by Design

Cycling by Design provides guidance for cycling infrastructure design on all roads, streets and paths in Scotland. It aims to ensure that cycling is a practical and attractive choice for the everyday and occasional journeys of all people, particularly new, returning or less confident users.

The guidance supports the integration of cycling with people walking and wheeling in a holistic and attractive environment that serves the needs of all users, so that designs can facilitate the implementation of the Scottish Government’s Sustainable Travel Hierarchy.

The guidance provides designers with the information they need to make good design decisions and to prepare solutions that are appropriate in the overall context of each specific situation.

Inclusive, accessible design in relation to town centres and busy areas is the subject of recent research on behalf of Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government and DfT. This outlines the principles for inclusive engagement.

Designing Streets

Designing Streets is the first policy statement in Scotland for street design and marks a change in the emphasis of guidance on street design towards place-making and away from a system focused upon the dominance of motor vehicles. Key considerations are that the street user hierarchy should consider pedestrians first and private motor vehicles last, and that street design should be inclusive, providing for all people regardless of age or ability.

Active Travel Strategies

Our recently published Active Travel Strategies Guidance provides local authorities with advice on the development process, placing greater emphasis on using data and evidence to inform network development.