Edinburgh's Active Travel Action Plan - Making Edinburgh a Cycling City.

Edinburgh's Active Travel Action Plan - Making Edinburgh a Cycling City.


N Kocak, P Noble, The City of Edinburgh Council, UK


This paper discusses the development of an Active Travel Action Plan for Edinburgh, focusing on the techniques used to identify the City?s active travel potential and the planned cycling and walking interventions to unlock this potential.


The City of Edinburgh Council has underlined its on-going commitments to Active Travel by being the only city in the UK to sign up to the Charter of Brussels, a network of cities aiming to increase cycling, and having the highest walking mode share in Scotland.

This paper based on the current development of an Active Travel Action Plan (ATAP) for Edinburgh. When complete, the plan will sets out short, medium and long term actions to achieve the City?s ambitious 15% cycling mode share target by 2020 (currently 2%, SHS 2007-8) and to maintain or improve on current high levels of walking (currently 34%, SHS 2007-8). It will contribute towards making Edinburgh?s transport system one of the most environmentally friendly, healthiest and most accessible in northern Europe by 2030.

While walking and cycling face similar issues including safety, exposure to traffic and weather, commuting distances and funding challenges, they are also quite distinct activities. For example most cycling happens on road; most walking on footways. This is why the City?s ATAP will consist of three parts:

? actions specific to walking;
? actions specific to cycling; and
? joint actions that will address the common issues/challenges in walking and cycling.

The paper will initially make an assessment of the policies adopted by cities around Europe that have started from much lower level of cycling, and have moved significantly towards, or have exceeded, a 15% cycling mode share and cities that have transformed their walking/pedestrian environment through combination of place making and transport initiates. Thereafter, the paper will discuss the City?s approach to prioritising development of the Edinburgh Active Travel Network which will consist of a combination of the Child Cycle Network, Cycle Friendly City Network and the various types of Strategic Pedestrian/Walking Corridors.

In the development of the ATAP, a combination of techniques will be used, looking at the ?cycling and walking potential? of different parts of the city on the one hand, and on the other hand at how best to create a well connected, safe, convenient and pleasant cycle and walking environment suitable for all users.

While walking potential was assessed against a background of recorded levels of walking (from Census 2001 Travel to Work Data) and the proportion of trips that are shorter than 2 km, cycling potential was assessed against recorded levels of cycling (from Census 2001 Travel to Work Data), the proportion of travel within the ideal cycling range of 2-5 km and also the topography (hilliness) of Edinburgh.

The paper will later focus on the development of the Child Cycle Network and Cycle Friendly City Network using this prioritisation system.

? Child/Family Cycle Network - predominantly on quiet roads and off-street, aimed to feel safe and secure for less confident cyclists including family groups and older unsupervised children.
? Cycle Friendly City Network - aimed at making cycling anywhere in the city convenient, safe and comfortable for adult utility cyclists.

Development of the Child Cycle Network was based on a different prioritisation process taking account of:

? maximising continuity ? this network won?t work if it has hazardous ?gaps?
? linking to key destinations ? a network is of no use if it leaves users short of their destination
? access to the network for potential users.

The ATAP is in the early stages of development and will be finalised by the time of the conference. The paper will present the results of analysis above and how it was used to prioritise planned investment.


Association for European Transport