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Building better choices: the opportunities for fairer transport in rural Scotland



The role of active travel 

The report highlights a common misconception. 

While some may insist that active travel has a limited role to play in rural settings, more people use a bicycle to get to work in remote small towns than in large urban areas. 

The survey respondents expressed a desire to travel actively more often and pointed to a lack of safe infrastructure, rather than an unwillingness to walk, wheel or cycle. 

Making it safer and easier to walk, wheel or cycle for everyday, local trips – like nipping to the shops, visiting friends and family, or reaching workplaces and essential services – creates real, emission-reducing, health-improving and cost-effective travel choice. 

But what about longer journeys?  

That’s where reliable, public travel infrastructure comes in – along with making sure people have the freedom to reach their bus stop or train station under their own steam.  

By connecting walking, wheeling and cycling routes with public transport hubs and nearby towns, people can more easily and sustainably get around. 

One example is the traffic-free walking, wheeling and cycling path along the Angus coast, near a small town called Carnoustie. This project is backed by funding from the Scottish Government and designed and delivered through partnership between Angus Council and Sustrans. 

Designated as part of the National Cycle Network, the active travel route will soon connect local residents with public transport so they can more easily leave the car at home for longer journeys. 

Along with projects like these, public transport needs to be reliable, available and affordable for everyone. 

A fairer deal for rural communities 

The report by the IPPR outlines a vision for Scotland’s rural communities which gives everyone more transport freedom and better choices, helping the places they live in and travel through thrive.  

A vision where everyone can travel around Scotland, reliably and affordably – without being locked-in to relying on their cars. 

Here at Sustrans, we also believe in a fairer deal for rural communities. 

Looking ahead, we shall continue to work together with partners to deliver an innovative transport system that empowers people to walk, wheel and cycle – no matter where they live.


Read the full report by the Institute for Public Policy Research

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