Policy and Data: March update

Our Policy and Data team offer an exciting update on the progress we’re making to influence a happier, healthier and greener Scotland.

Paths for All policy update

This month, we responded to 9 consultations, relating to a range of policy areas including planning and land use, sustainable transport, and health and wellbeing. 

This month we also reached out to MSPs with details about the projects funded through our Ian Findlay Path Fund. Since the fund was established in August 2022, Paths for All has supported over 20 community active travel projects in 15 local authority areas. Find out more about progress so far through the StoryMap here. One of these projects is the recently completed Queen Margaret University (QMU) path which we visited alongside Patrick Harvie (Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights) and representatives from East Lothian Council and QMU to see the benefits the path has delivered. Find out more about the project visit here.


Consultations responded to


East Dunbartonshire Council- A807 Active Travel Corridor

East Dunbartonshire Council aims to increase the number of active travel journeys in the area by making it safer and more enjoyable to travel by walking, wheeling and cycling, by creating a circular route to connect most of the settlements in East Dunbartonshire, as well as filling existing gaps. This consultation sought the views of local communities and users of the route.

Though lacking detailed local knowledge, we expressed our support for the overall aim of the project and highlighted the findings of our attitudes survey around the barriers faced by those wishing to walk or wheel more – including safety concerns that this project could address.

Read the full consultation response here.


Glasgow City Council - Air Quality Action Plan

We commented on Glasgow City Council’s proposed update to the air quality action plan. Action areas included the promotion of low emission transport and travel alternatives, traffic management and alternatives to private vehicle use.

We strongly agreed with the action areas suggested, particularly welcoming plans to implement a city-wide 20mph limit, new staff travel plans for council employees, and expansion of the active travel network to create safer and more attractive spaces for active travel as a way to reduce air pollution from vehicles.

Read the full consultation response here


West Dunbartonshire Council – Active Travel Strategy

An Active Travel Strategy for West Dunbartonshire is being developed and those with an interest in West Dunbartonshire were asked to complete a short survey around their current ways of travelling, the ease of getting around on public transport or actively, as well as the barriers they face and what they would like to see change. 

We submitted a short response to share our agreement that development of such a strategy was important and should be evidence-led.

Read the full consultation response here.


Do you want to get involved? There’s still time for you to respond.


Engaging in public consultations related to your local area, or topics you have an interest in, is a great way to ensure that decisions made by local government or other organisations, take into account as much information, local knowledge and informed opinions as possible. A key consultation coming up for us, which we would encourage you to respond to is:

Scottish Government is seeking views on their draft plan for adapting to climate change – the impacts of which change a lot depending on where you live. The draft Scottish National Adaptation Plan for 2024-2029 is structured around five outcomes: Nature Connects; Communities; Public services and infrastructure; Economy, business and industry, and International action.

The consultation closes 24 April. Have your say here.


Wider policy work


Walking and Cycling Index

This month saw the launch of the Sustrans Walking and Cycling Index, a comprehensive report examining what people in 23 urban areas across the UK think about walking, wheeling and cycling. In 2023, over 9,600 residents aged 16 or over took part in eight Scottish Index cities, with an aggregated report for Scotland produced for the first time. Key findings across Scotland include 48% of respondents expressing that they want to walk or wheel more, and 57% wanting more investment in walking compared with 30% in driving.

A number of us from Paths for All were lucky enough to attend some of the launch events in Glasgow, Perth, and Stirling which took a deep dive into the specific findings for these cities and what the findings mean for them.

In Glasgow, the number of people walking and wheeling has increased from 2021 which is positive to see. However, 60% of residents say that they want more investment in walking and wheeling which shows that there is a real desire for change in Glasgow. Glasgow city council are addressing some of the issues identified in the report and as part of the City Centre Transformation Plan, they are planning a People First Zone in the city centre to make it a safer, more accessible and attractive place to walk. 

In Perth, overall, there's been a slight decrease in the number of people walking/ wheeling 5 days a week, from 57% in 2021 to 52% this year. There's also been a decrease in the number of residents who think the level of safety for walking or wheeling is good, from 80% in 2021 to 67% this year. This identifies a need to make the city more walking, wheeling and cycling friendly and reduce traffic in the city.

In Stirling there was lots of conversation about the impact of the Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling project, something that attendees that arrived by train were able to appreciate right away! Speakers from the area shared their experiences of walking (with or without buggys!) and wheeling as well as cycling in the city, highlighting the impact on their lives, and those around them, of being able to do so. There was also discussion about the fact that almost a quarter of people want to drive less (24% in Stirling vs 22% in Scotland), and often use a car because no other transport options are available (42% in Stirling vs 32% in Scotland), identifying an important opportunity to change behaviour by improving alternatives to driving.

Overall, the walking and cycling index is an important project that provides data to inform and support work across Scotland to enable and encourage us all to walk, wheel and cycle more. It demonstrates the importance of walking and wheeling particularly. Alongside our own attitudes survey, it provides evidence that we at Paths for All can use to help shape our delivery and communications work.

Our information and data monitoring officer investigated some of the key areas that sparked initial interest internally at Paths for All, and these can be viewed on the interactive Flourish visualization below, comparing each of the Scottish index cities, as well as the Scotland and UK aggregated results. 



The results also clearly shows that people want more services and amenities within walking and wheeling distance. As our own national attitudes survey also demonstrates, it adds weight to the promotion of more local living – including the 20-minute neighbourhood concept.

Changes that respondents across Scotland agreed would encourage more walking and wheeling include:

Wider pavements (71%)

More frequent road crossings, with reduced wait times (70%)

Nicer places along streets to stop and rest, like more benches (77%)

Better pavement accessibility (74%)

Fewer cars parked on the pavement (68%)



Our Walkipedia website contains key sources of information and evidence relating to walking, pedestrians, and active travel and we update it every month. This month’s new additions include:

New minority ethnic data on the attitudes and behaviors towards cycling in Scotland

New “Move Free” report by Create Streets shows that enabling walking and cycling brings benefits for everyone

Scottish Transport Statistics 2023

Can 20mph speed limit interventions influence liveability?

‘Dirty Deals’ report from Transform Scotland