New analyses of cycling in Glasgow

13 March 2017

We have published descriptive analyses of datasets relating to cycling within Glasgow in order to help provide a picture of cycling activity within the city.

Background

Transport Scotland's Cycling Action Plan for Scotland, covering 2017-2020, sets out a vision for 10% of everyday journeys to be made by bike by 2020. A series of actions are outlined in the plan to show how the Scottish Government will work with local authorities and key partners to achieve this outcome.  

Glasgow City Council’s Strategic Plan for cycling 2016-2025 indicates how Glasgow proposes to develop cycling within the city to meet the vision of the Scottish Government, but also in terms of delivering on its own policy commitments towards regeneration, sustainability, and improving health and wellbeing. This plan builds on Glasgow’s first cycling strategy which was launched in 2010.

As work begins on the actions outlined in this second plan, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health considered it of interest to undertake some descriptive analyses of various currently available datasets relating to cycling within Glasgow in order to help provide a picture of cycling activity within the city, and in turn, to help inform future developments. There were four separate analyses undertaken and each was reported on separately.

City cycle ways City Ways infographic - if you require and accessible version or a transcript please email info@gcph.co.uk

The first two reports considered usage of two recently developed cycle routes, known as City Ways, which provide segregated access for cyclists from different parts of the city into the city centre. A series of City Ways are planned so it is of interest to examine what can be learnt from the first two examples. The West City Way provides a route from Kelvingrove Park in the west end of the city to Central Station in the city centre. A cycle counter placed on this route, at the entrance to a footbridge developed to take cyclists over the motorway from Argyle Street to Anderston, enabled examination of usage of this part of the route from July 2014 to July 2016.

Results are presented in Cycle journeys on the Anderston-Argyle Street Bridge: a descriptive analysis. More recently, the South West City Way was opened. It provides cyclists with a link from Pollokshields in the south west of the city to the Tradeston (or Squiggly) Bridge over the Clyde, which leads to the city centre. Data from a cycle counter was available for this route from March to October 2016. Results are presented in Cycle journeys on the South West City Way: a descriptive analysis. Both routes appear to be used heavily used for commuting purposes, and to be experiencing increasing use over time.

City bike hire scheme Cycle hire infographic - if you require and accessible version or a transcript please email info@gcph.co.uk

A third report focuses on usage of Glasgow’s mass bike hire scheme. In 2014, to coincide with the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the city’s first public bike hire scheme was launched. Data on bike hires and limited information on individuals registering for the scheme was made available by Nextbike, the providers of the scheme, to Glasgow City Council and in turn to the GCPH. Full details of the analyses undertaken are described in Glasgow’s public cycle hire scheme: analysis of usage between July 2014 and June 2016.

As with the City Ways, a considerable amount of usage of the scheme appears to be for commuting purposes, and a steady growth in use can be observed. Several of the bike hire stations lie within the vicinity of the City Way routes and there are likely to be interactions among these initiatives in their impact on cycling numbers. Providing dedicated cycle routes will encourage individuals to hire bikes to use the routes and vice versa the provision of hire bikes will mean the seeking out of routes on which to use the bikes.    

Travel to school Hands Up Survey infographic - if you require and accessible version or a transcript please email info@gcph.co.uk

The final report looks at travel to school in Glasgow. Every year a survey known as the Hands Up Survey is conducted across Scottish schools by Sustrans to determine how school pupils travel to school. While reports are prepared and published for Scotland as a whole by Sustrans, and results described at a local authority level, they are not further broken down. The final report of this series took the data for Glasgow and considered this in greater detail and by individual school.

The results are available in Travel to school in Glasgow: a descriptive analysis of results from the Hands Up Survey. This report could be seen to present a less positive picture of cycling activity within the city than the other three, suggesting that further work is required to support school-age children to cycle. However, there is growth seen in levels of primary school children cycling to school which may partly reflect a recently introduced preschool cycling initiative.

Download the media briefing (PDF).

Read more about our research into active travel in our latest synthesis report.

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