Cycling research 

Active forms of travel, including walking, cycling and wheeling, are not only important to health for their contribution to increasing physical activity, but also to help address obesity, improve mental health, tackle climate change, reduce air pollution, and can help build more connected communities. Active travel is an intrinsic part of a sustainable transport system, one that prioritises low carbon transport choices and comprises multiple modes, including walking, cycling, public transport, and bike, wheeling, and car sharing.

In 2023 we produced an analysis of bicycle hires made by users of the Glasgow bikeshare scheme over an eight-year period, from the scheme’s inception in July 2014 to the end of July 2022. The report discusses the potential health and environmental benefits of the scheme and how it may impact on transport inequalities in the city, and makes suggestions about how and where the scheme could be developed and expanded in the future.

Key information from the report is highlighted in this infographic.

Glasgow's bikeshare schemes: trends in use infographic-  if you require an accessible version or transcript, please email










In 2019 we published an evaluation of the Bikes for All cycling inclusion project. The project was designed to encourage a range of population groups to cycle, including women, ethnic minority groups, asylum seekers and refugees. The evaluation report presents findings from two surveys of participants – one at the start of their participation and one three months later. Qualitative research was also carried out in the form of focus groups and interviews. A summary report is also available.

In 2017 we published a series of cycling analysis reports. Two reports document trends and patterns of cycling associated with two new cycling routes in the city, the West City Way and the South West City Way. Another report focuses on use of the cycle hire scheme in Glasgow, documenting its growth, peak times of use, seasonal factors and the impact of weather.

Published alongside these reports, is an analysis of active travel to school in Glasgow, which highlights trends in walking and cycling among primary and secondary pupils in schools across the city.  

In 2015, we published a study which explored the views of users of the Kelvingrove-Anderston cycling and walking route in Glasgow.  The route, now renamed the West City Way, connects Kelvingrove Park (in the west of Glasgow) to the city centre. Download a report from the report’s launch event.  

In 2015, we completed a detailed study of cyclist and pedestrian road casualty trends in Scotland. The study used road traffic injury data collected through police reports and from hospital admission data to gain a better understanding of trends in pedestrian and cyclist road casualties in Scotland.  In 2020 we published Cycling in Scotland: review of cycling casualties, which combined analysis of reported cycling casualties in Scotland over a 23-year period from 1995-2018, with a literature review of under-reporting of casualties and near misses. The main findings were: the rate of serious injuries and fatalities in Scotland increased by 18% between 2004-2018; the majority (84%) of cycling casualties involved a collision with a car; one-in-ten cycling casualties were victims of hit and run incidents and pedestrian injuries caused by a collision with a cyclist were rare.

In 2015, we provided a detailed response to Glasgow’s Draft Strategic Plan for Cycling 2015-2025

In 2013, we undertook an assessment of the health and economic benefits of cycling in Glasgow, using a health economic assessment tool (HEAT) for cycling developed by the World Health Organisation.  The HEAT tool was applied to local cycling data for Glasgow and found that the annual health economic benefit accruing from cycle trips into and out of the city centre in 2012 was £4 million. Download the briefing paper. 

Briefing papers

We have previously published a range of relevant briefing papers which are available to download below: 

Briefing Paper Findings Series 37 - Learning from success: active travel in schools 

Briefing Paper Findings Series 29 - Children’s travel to school – are we moving in the right direction?

Briefing Paper Findings Series 28 - Are trends in adult active travel moving in the right direction? 

Briefing Paper Findings Series 26 - Moving in the right direction? Findings from a review of transport policy in Scotland

Briefing Paper Findings Series 22 - Attitudes toward active travel in Glasgow: Findings from a qualitative research project  

Journal articles

Cycling Trends in Scotland during the Early Phase of the COVID Pandemic
Whyte B, McArthur D, Garnham L and Livingston M. Active Travel Studies. 2022

Seminar talks with a focus on cycling

New analysis of cycling in Glasgow - Karen Macpherson (Active travel seminar, 2017)

Reflections on our learning: transport, active travel and inequalities - Jill Muirie (Active travel seminar, 2017)

Our unequal streets: everyday experiences as barriers to cycling - Dr Rachel Aldred (Active travel seminar, Active travel seminar, 2016)

What have we learned? A synthesis of GCPH's work on active travel – Jill Muirie (Active travel seminar, 2016) 

Active travel in an urban Scottish context Bruce Whyte, (Healthier Futures Forum, 2015)

Research into the use of the new Kelvingrove to Anderston route in Glasgow - Lorna Shaw and Emma Hewitt (Active travel seminar, January 2015)

'Are we moving in the right direction? Findings from data analyses and policy review' - Fiona Crawford and Bruce Whyte (Active travel seminar, 2010)

School Travel Trends- Bruce Whyte and Mark Livingston (Active travel seminar, 2009)  

Further information and data

The transport section of the Understanding Glasgow website provides details of cycling trends in Glasgow, in Scottish cities, within Glasgow and Clyde Valley, by Glasgow neighbourhood, by deprivation decile.  There is also information on the length and type of cycling infrastructure in the city.