Jolin Warren, Head of Research, Transform Scotland
© John Yellowlees, 2014
The study by sustainable transport campaign Transform Scotland has provided an audit process for cycling at transport facilities, considering in turn their surroundings, entrance, platforms, exit.
Looking at signage, how people get around and whether the facilities are well-used, it evolved a toolkit of what to do on the day, creating a worksheet that can be used by others to help identify what's working within case-studies ranging by size, type and geographical spread, and while giving individual coverage to each terminal in the seven cities providing a combined report on bus, rail and ferry in smaller places - Oban, Fort William and Mallaig.
The main finding is on the need to develop Active Travel Hubs for walkers and cyclists inspired by what has been achieved at for example Stirling Railway Station.
The focus inevitably came to be on what's not right. At Glasgow's Buchanan Bus Station cyclists face a roundabout route using a pavement shared with pedestrians and no clear space to stop, with nice cycle parking but signage that is not clear.
At Oban cycles are not allowed into the ferry terminal by CalMac, so you can't wheel yours in while buying a ticket, and at the pier you have to yield to vehicles: at the ScotRail carpark cycle parking is at the far end, and is uncovered unlike the pay and display machine.
Aberdeen Station offers a high-quality environment, but some cycle parking is in a corner that no-one would want to use, and there is no sign to indicate that cyclists can share the taxi entrance. Stirling Bus Station has lockers that are well-maintained and the manager is a cyclist, but it is evidently difficult to agree improvements with landlord.
A key finding is the lack of overall consistency particularly signage : so one recommendation is have an Active Travel Friendly standard with a badge enabling cyclists to rely on high-quality information and facilities which so as to avoid duplication could be aligned with existing accreditation schemes like Visit.Scotland's.
Cycle facilities while often generously provided seem sometimes not well thought through, eg badly-spaced racks : so the study recommends having an Active Travel Architect in the design team for any project so as to ensure best practice.
There can be a lack of information on local routes and where to get repairs: so the recommendation is to create Active Travel Hubs offering tools, repair facilities and information on cycle-routes.
Pre-travel information is often poor. The National Rail Enquiries "stations made easy" advice is difficult to find on their website, and there should be similar coverage for buses and ferries.
The published study was launched at the Pollokshaws West cycle-hub last month, and groups reports on the 19 terminals that it studied in 10 cities and towns by size and type.
Report and photographs by John Yellowlees.
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