Aberdeen residents want to walk, cycle, or wheel more, according to report


ABERDEEN residents want to drive less and at the same time walk, wheel, or cycle more, research for a national report out today (5 March 2023) has found.

This latest Sustrans Walking and Cycling Index shows 23% of residents want to drive less, 50% of residents want to walk or wheel more, and 47% want to cycle more.

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Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Ian Yuill said in the foreword of the report that the Council has invested heavily in recent years to improve cycling facilities in the city with five clear objectives – maximise the role of cycling for short journeys, develop safe, convenient and efficient infrastructure, increase cycling for leisure, tourism and recreation, integrate policies for cycling across council strategies, and set policies which contribute to meeting cycling targets.

Councillor Yuill said: “The Council welcomes the report which provides key insights which emphasise the importance of continuing to deliver on improving walking, cycling, and wheeling opportunities for everyone.

“One of the benefits of living in a city the size of Aberdeen is the wide range of active travel options that are available. Walking, wheeling, and cycling are a real alternative to the car for many people, especially for short journeys and the Council wants to help more people walk, cycle or wheel around.”

The report said 71% of residents think their local area overall is a good place to walk or wheel and 63% of residents think the level of safety for walking or wheeling is good.

In Aberdeen, there are 36 miles of traffic‑free cycle paths away from the road (33 miles in 2021), two miles of cycle paths physically separated from traffic and pedestrians (1 mile in 2021), and 15% of households were within 125m of these routes (14% in 2021).

The report highlighted several initiatives which have taken place to help walking, cycling, and wheeling including introducing a small fleet of fuel cell cargo pedelecs for trialling with private and public organisations in and around the city centre offering a zero emission “last mile” option for small to medium sized local cargo deliveries, an e-bike hire scheme, the City Centre and Beach Masterplan which includes removing private cars from Union Street Central and nearby supporting traffic restrictions, several new or improved pavements, and the IBike For Schools scheme.

It also reported on initiatives for the next few years including the Local Transport Plan, more cycling, walking and wheeling opportunities in the City Centre and Beach Masterplan, active travel network project, IBike For Communities, and Ashgrove Connects Project. These projects will contribute to reducing emissions and creating a more welcoming environment for people to spend time in.

The report said the Covid-19 pandemic had a big impact on travel. In 2021, whilst most restrictions had been lifted, many people were taking fewer journeys and working from home. Participation in cycling on a regular basis has stayed about the same since 2021, but walking and wheeling has decreased. A total of 49% of residents walk or wheel at least five days a week which was 57% in 2021, and 16% of residents cycle at least once a week (15% in 2021).

Karen McGregor, Director, Sustrans Scotland, said:“I’d like to thank the people of Aberdeen who gave us their time to take part in the Walking and Cycling Index. The Index results show that making walking, wheeling, and cycling the most accessible and desirable form of transport is of great importance to people, especially during the current cost of living crisis.

“There is clear evidence that Aberdonians want the option to walk, wheel and cycle to where they need to get to more often and to have generous pavements that are well-maintained and clear of parked cars; they want safe, accessible cycle paths and pedestrian crossings; and they want more investment in public transport.

“The latest Index results show that Aberdeen City Council has the backing of the public to build on the work it has already started to make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle to get around.”

The Walking and Cycling Index is supported by funding from Transport Scotland.

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