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"Smarter Choices, Smarter Places - Creating Greener Travel" by Ian Maxwell, Programme Manager, Smarter Choices, Smarter Places. Scottish Region Meeting of 6 October 2009.

The Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme is a programme of 7 demonstration projects that are being undertaken across the country and Ian Maxwell, Programme Manager outlined the projects that are part of the programme. The projects were developed following a report by the DfT that laid down the case for Smarter Choices measures aimed at reducing car traffic.

Results from England showed that a substantial difference in mode could be achieved with a 7% - 9% reduction in car usage being noted and at the same time there was an increase in bus travel, the exception being in Darlington, but this was due to changes in bus service provision in the town. As the English results were encouraging, in Scotland an agreement was reached between the Scottish Government and COSLA for a demonstration programme. This was launched in spring of 2008 and resulted in proposals being submitted from 27 local authorities. These were reduced to a short list of 12, form which 7 projects were selected for implementation.

The projects span the country and are being undertaken in Dumfries, Barrhead, Glasgow East End, Kirkintilloch/Lenzie, Kirkwall, Dundee and Stenhousemuir/Larbert. These locations include areas with high car ownership and usage , areas with low car ownership and usage and range from urban to rural in nature. All projects were selected on their merits. The Scottish Government provided funding of £10 million with an additional £5 million being provided by COSLA.

This money is being spent on a variety of projects including cycling and walking infrastructure, bus infrastructure, personal travel planning, public realm improvement, travel information, cycle hire and health linked projects. Mr. Maxwell highlighted some of the key aspects of the programme.

Marketing and Information includes the development of a Sustainable Travel Information Strategy, provision of Personalised Travel Plans, promotion of Salary Sacrifice Schemes. Looking at Bus Measures, these include improvements to networks, ticketing and infrastructure along with Multi-modal Interchange Enhancements including Real Time Information.

Looking at Cycling and Walking measures, Mr. Maxwell outlined enhancements to Public Realm, provision of Green Commuter Routes, additional 20mph Zones and the development of a Self-Service Bike Hire Scheme. The car is not left out of the programme and measures include development of "Park and Choose" Sites, where commuters can park their car and "choose" the mode of travel for their onward journey, town centre Parking Demand Measures, the introduction of a Car Club and in Dumfries the maintenance and promotion of

Local publicity for these projects is felt to be important and each project has local branding, for example "Go Barrhead" for the Barrhead project or in Dundee the project is marketed under the "Travel Active" brand. If was found that separate campaigns using local branding was better that using the standard government or council branding as local identity is important.

Mr. Maxwell then turned to the Baseline Monitoring that had been carried out. With seven different projects starting in May 2009, it is important to undertake monitoring and evaluation of the success of the schemes. This required baseline monitoring to provide a profile of travel behaviour and to enable change to be measured and will also show what happens locally as well as providing a measure of how much additional walking and cycling people undertake. The monitoring also measures how much change in attitudes occurs. The baseline monitoring also helps local authorities to target their campaigns on the aspects that people focus on.

The baseline monitoring began in January/February 2009 and consisted of focus groups, telephone interviews involving some 4,000 people, 13,000 household visits and one day travel diaries. There will also be follow up telephone surveys carried out in 2010 and 2011 and in 2012 a full repeat survey will be undertaken to provide the end results. The surveys will provide data on modal behaviour and information on modal split.

Mr. Maxwell then looked at the initial results and highlighted some of the more interesting figures. For example, the highest car dependency figure was in the Larbert Stenhousemuir area and the lowest being in the Glasgow East End area. Kirkwall had the highest walking dependency figure, with the lowest in Barrhead. One of the questions posed asked if people would like to travel by car more often and interestingly, 46.2% of respondents in Glasgow East End indicated that they would like to do so, as opposed to those in Dumfries where 47.8% of respondents indicated they would like to use the car less.

In all areas, respondents expressed a view that being environmentally friendly was important with the highest figure, 68% being found in Dumfries and the lowest, 43% in Glasgow East End. People in Dundee expressed a preference for more car travel even if it damaged the environment. However, the result in Kirkwall indicated that 43.3% of respondents took the opposite view.

The next stage is for the delivery of the SCSP programme and to spread the lessons learned. The programme has a major role to play in meeting Climate Change targets and it is intended to incorporate Smarter Choices into all transport projects. There was then a lengthy question and answer session and Mr. Maxwell answered many questions of a wide variety of matters relating to the programme.

The evening concluded with the presentation of an engraved Scottish Region Quaich to Mr. Maxwell by the Regional Chairman.

For further details of Smarter Choices, Smarter Places see:

and the Youtube presentation at:


Click here to download a copy of the presentation (PDF format, 2.7Mb)

The Scottish Region would like to thank Mr. Maxwell for his presentation and Edinburgh City Council for hosting the event.

Report by John Fender.


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