Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS) Review


This Chapter summarises the key priority actions identified in the 2020 Independent Review of CAPS and maps them out against the draft Framework and Delivery Plan.

Independent Review of CAPS, 2020

This report reviews the actions set out in a number of national, regional and local level policy documents that have relevance to active travel. It provides a structured critique of these actions and makes some recommendations as to how these actions could be strengthened, speeded up and/or supplemented by further actions in order, ultimately, to increase the take up of cycling and active travel in Scotland.

It then recaps the international evidence on what is needed to increase levels of cycling quickly over a small number of years. The report then reviews the quality of the actions in four key documents and the actions in a larger number of national documents, and those in local and regional Active Travel Strategies.

Finally, it considers the evidence of progress in Scotland in terms of delivering the actions reviewed previously, and in terms of the country hitting its targets for levels of cycling. It discusses what more might need to be done both in implementing existing actions and in further developing actions or adding completely new ones and summarises this as a set of recommendations.

Consideration of the review’s recommendations for the implementation of existing actions and development of new actions have been the focus of this report.

The review recommends that the vision, objectives, outputs and outcomes and the monitoring and review process should be the same as the Vision and Objectives of the Active Travel Framework.

Scotland's communities are shaped around people, with walking or cycling the most popular choice for shorter everyday journeys.

The Objectives are as follows:

  • Cut carbon emissions and other pollution
  • Deliver liveable, more pleasant communities
  • Better health and safer travel for all
  • Reduce inequalities - jobs, services, leisure
  • Support delivery of sustainable economic growth

CAPS review - Outcomes and indicators

The Outcomes and indicators that will measure the achievement of these objectives are as follows:

Increase the number of people choosing walking, cycling and wheeling in Scotland

  • Proportion of short everyday journeys by walking and cycling
  • Attitudes towards/propensity to walking, cycling and wheeling
  • Proportion of journeys to school by walking, cycling and wheeling
  • Frequency of walking and cycling for pleasure/exercise

High quality walking, cycling and wheeling infrastructure is available to all

  • Km of traffic-free walking and cycling facilities
  • Distance to traffic-free cycling infrastructure
  • Quality of walking and cycling infrastructure

Walking, cycling and wheeling is safer for all

  • Casualties by mode of transport and distance travelled (number and proportion)
  • Perceptions of safety of walking, wheeling and cycling

Walking, cycling and wheeling is available to all

  • Household access to a bike (with focus on regional and socio-economic variation)
  • Proportion of people identifying barriers to walking, cycling and wheeling

Delivery of walking, cycling and wheeling is promoted and supported by a range of partners

  • Level of inclusion of active travel in local development plans
  • Level of public sector spend on walking, cycling and wheeling
  • Perception of community involvement in walking, cycling and wheeling initiatives
  • Proportion of primary schools delivering on-road cycle training

These recommendations have been taken forward into the new Cycling Framework for Active Travel.

The review recommended that the focus for the new Framework should be on developing a set of actions, prioritised, and each with a clear timescale, cost estimate, funding source and a lead delivery organisation, that need to be delivered in order to achieve the plan’s objectives. This recommendation is in development through the drafting of the Delivery Plan.

CAPS review - Delivery plan actions

The report identified that the following actions should be considered:

Delivery of high-quality infrastructure at a local level

Segregated infrastructure on arterial roads/streets and on any street with a speed limit of more than 20mph – needs to be speeded up and strengthened. This is primarily a local authority responsibility and various supporting actions are required to realise it.

Included in the delivery plan?

Included but any street over 20mph not specifically mentioned.

Increased access to bikes

Included in the delivery plan?

Included- provision of a free bike free for all children of school age who cannot afford one, adapted bikes, bike share

National Transport Strategy and the Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 considerations

Included in the delivery plan?

Included. Active freeways, public transport integration, placemaking, cycling guidance, influencing travel behaviour

Further road safety initiatives

Included in the delivery plan?

Included. Promote new Highway Code and implement cycling training requirements. Support the Road Safety Framework deliverables. Increase enforcement of dangerous driving towards cyclists. Online system for third-party reporting of dangerous driving to empower responsible road users and improve driving behaviours.

The National Planning Framework

The National Planning Framework is as not as unequivocal as it could be about the need to create new development at higher density and as close as possible to existing urban centres.

Included in the delivery plan?

Consultation on NPF4 is ongoing.

Integration of cycling with public transport

However, this is not considered to be a very high priority since the international evidence does not highlight it as a deciding factor in whether people choose to combine cycling, or walking, with a public transport trips.

Included in the delivery plan?

Included. Build and maintain a dense, coherent network of connected cycling infrastructure in every town and city that is separate from traffic and integrated with public transport, and rural routes that link to these networks and interface with the trunk road network and NCN. 

Support cycling journeys to and from public transport hubs as part of a multi-modal journey.

Implement safe cycle routes to public transport interchanges and increase the provision of high quality bike storage.

Transport appraisal

Review of how walking and cycling schemes are appraised in relation to road and public transport schemes is required.

Included in the delivery plan?

Included. Continuously monitor and evaluate the impact of active travel investment and embed learning in future investment decisions.

Review how active travel/cycling schemes are appraised – broaden the benefits to include social, economic and equality benefits.

CAPS review - Areas of CAPS to strengthen

Improved active travel strategies

  1. Condition receipt of funding on local authority having adopted a high-quality active travel strategy that includes a well-specified and outline costed plan of new active travel infrastructure, prioritised, and with a timescale for delivery. These active travel strategies should of course take cognisance of infrastructure plans already contained in existing local and regional active travel strategies.
  2. Provide direct support to local authorities to produce high quality active travel strategies with new support staff, most likely in government itself rather than in Sustrans or other third party organisation. Given that these posts would be linked to the delivery of infrastructure, it is likely that their funding could be capitalised.


  1. Included. Receipt of funding not specified.
  2. Included

Support to local authorities on road space reallocation and traffic reduction

  1. Provide guidance on modelling of road capacity reduction and roadspace reallocation.
  2. Provide case studies of road capacity reduction and roadspace reallocation, including evidence regarding local economic impact and of actual traffic impacts compared to previously modelled impacts. Changes to TRO process (see below).
  3. Transport Scotland to pilot at least two schemes of roadspace reallocation to create high quality segregated cycle facilities and pedestrian facilities at Roads for All standard on trunk roads in small unbypassed towns, and to organise for local authority traffic engineers (not just active travel staff) site visits and training based on the experience. These projects must be included in STPR2.
  4. For any authority that does implement a Workplace Parking Levy, condition its Ministerial approval on a certain proportion of the net proceeds being spent on active travel infrastructure.


  1. Referenced in Network Planning & Monitoring section
  2. TRO process included.
  3. Various actions in Safe Cycling Infrastructure and Effective Resourcing sections.
  4. Not included.

TRO and redetermination order processes

  • Accept evidence of ATTF consultation that current processes are barrier to timely scheme delivery. Review experience in terms of public perceptions, awareness and feedback on implementation of works on Edinburgh’s Picardy Place which were carried out on the street prior to the approval/adoption of TROs and Redetermination Orders.

Consult on:

  • Giving equal legal weight in process to supporters as well as objectors of proposed TRO.
  • Reducing number/scale of measures requiring any TRO process (for example, a stipulated minimum length of double yellow line that can be implemented without a TRO, in the same way that bus stop clearways currently do not require a TRO).
  • Removing need for hearings for all measures on local roads.
  • Removing need for referral to Scottish Ministers of unresolved TROs and objections to Redetermination Orders.
  • Adopting English process for Experimental TROs (in England, Experimental TROs can be made permanent directly. In Scotland, the identical permanent order must be advertised and adopted before the Experimental Order expires).


  • Consultation on TROs underway.

Funding for local infrastructure

Increase national capital funding to a level and duration to provide sufficient funding for high quality local cycle networks to be introduced as specified in the improved Active Travel Strategies.

Reduce/eliminate need for match funding for segregated cycleways on arterial streets which involve significant reallocation of road space from private motor vehicles, parked or moving. Consult on modification of road maintenance block grant to be calculated including off-road cycling and core path infrastructure; and consult on whether to remove all or part of the competitive award element of Community Links and Community Links Plus.


  • Referenced in Safe Cycling Infrastructure section.

Staff capacity

Offer national funding to local authorities for employment of additional traffic engineering staff to work on design and implementation of active travel infrastructure. Since such posts would be infrastructure related, there is a strong possibility that they could be capitalised.


  • Referenced in Safe Cycling Infrastructure section.

National guidance such as LTNs, DMRB, and TALs do not appear consistent with the new infrastructure designs but will continue to be used in conflict with new guidance

  • Ensure that process for new design guidance clarifies where and when it supersedes other guidance that is currently more relied upon by traffic engineers such as the DfT’s TALs, LTNs and DMRB.
  • Ensure that new guidance resolves conflicts between new road design for cycling and walking and older guidance such as DfT TALs. An example for pedestrians is the placing of signalled crossing on desire lines at or very close to junctions.
  • Separate guidance for trunk roads and local urban roads must be produced.
  • The guidance should reflect the requirement of the Equality Act to build reasonable adjustments into new schemes and maintenance schemes.
  • Ensure that any new guidance is consistent with TS’ own Roads for All document and any update of DfT’s Inclusive Mobility.
  • Guidance should be supplemented with a training course for traffic engineers in the use of the new guidance and its relationship to existing guidance that they use (LTNs, TALs, DMRB more than Designing Streets). Receipt of cycling and walking funds should be conditioned on all traffic engineering staff in a local authority completing the training course.


  • Referenced in Safe Cycling Infrastructure section.

Increase access to bikes

  • Consider directly funding the purchase of new or second-hand bikes for all or a means tested proportion of the Scottish population. Using bulk purchase discounts, a basic new adult bike could be obtained for around £100. These could either be given to people or rented on a long-term basis to include maintenance (similar to a scheme operated in by way of comparison, the Air Discount Scheme for Scottish Island and Caithness residents' costs around £113 per member per year (and is not means tested).


  • Included

National leadership

  • See above, pilot small town trunk road schemes by Transport Scotland.
  • Higher national funding levels for active travel.
  • Organise smaller more focused meetings with senior local authority staff and transport convenors to explain the benefits of investment in active travel, and to explain the funding linked to it. Bring local politicians who are already committed to active travel to lead these meetings with their political counterparts in other authorities.


  • Included

Road safety to reduce pedestrian and cyclist KSIs

  • Study road safety infrastructure and legislation adopted by countries with lower KSI rates per trip or km travelled for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Implement similar infrastructure on national roads, and legislation.
  • Introduce dedicated fund for local authorities to bid to expand 20mph zones that include speed reducing measures and to implement safety infrastructure found to be effective in other countries with lower KSI rates per trip or km travelled.


  • Support for the various deliverables set out in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework 2030. Delivery Plans under its Active and Sustainable Travel Strategic Action.

National Planning Framework and high density development

  • Assess likely economic impact of including in NPF4 presumption against greenfield development, at least in Scotland’s former City Regions.
  • Assess likely economic impact of stipulating minimum in NPF4 average densities for new residential development.
  • Seek to influence NPF4 on these issues.
  • Increase level of call in on planning applications that do not support walking and cycling in their proposed location and/or detailed design of internal street network and permeability.


Not included.