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Travel survey shows an increase in walking and cycling in the north-east


By David Porter

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Local surveys have shown that most people in the north-east expect to keep up their increased walking and cycling journeys in future.

New travel surveys, carried out on behalf of local transport body Nestrans, look to measure changes in the way people are travelling as we move through the Covid-19 period.

So far, two surveys have been carried out, with figures being gathered each month to support local travel planning activities.

Eight more are planned.

A Nestrans survey has shown a large increase in people walking and cycling.
A Nestrans survey has shown a large increase in people walking and cycling.

Data from the second survey show most people expect to keep walking and cycling for leisure and exercise purposes (83 per cent walking and 74 per cent cycling).

As more people feel the benefits of active travel, the survey also shows that many want to use these to replace journeys that could otherwise have been made another way.

This information will help Nestrans, and its partners, to better understand attitudes in using public transport, a willingness to walk or cycle and other behavioural changes such as the increasing numbers of people choosing to work from home.

The travel studies are being carried out using funding secured through Transport Scotland’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places fund, administered by Paths for All.

The survey’s results also show that around three-quarters of residents have concerns over using public transport, such as travelling by bus, train, taxi or the use of shared vehicles.

The feedback, including the key concerns, will be shared with public transport operators to help in efforts to alleviate some of the anxiety expressed when using shared transport.

As part of understanding travel behaviour, the surveys also focus on commuting and working behaviour.

Almost half of those (46 per cent) who previously travelled to work are now currently working from home.

The surveys also reflect the wider desire to work flexibly - almost three fifths (59 per cent) of respondents want to work this way, with flexible hours, start/ finish times or compacted hours.

Aside from their current behaviour, respondents were asked to predict their future travel to work, once restrictions are fully lifted.

In this case, respondents predict making commuting journeys on almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of their working days, an equivalent to around a 14 percentage-point reduction in commuting journeys.

Four-fifths (80 per cent) expect that virtual meetings will replace some, or all, face to face business meetings in future.

Councillor Sandra McDonald
Councillor Sandra McDonald

Chair of Nestrans, Councillor Sandra Macdonald said, “Understanding travel behaviour through the course of the pandemic is an important part of our travel planning work to support people to make healthier and more sustainable journeys.

"Working alongside Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, as well as other travel partners, the results will inform our work through the Covid-19 recovery period and beyond.

"I’m very pleased to see the continuing increase in levels of walking and cycling. Increasing active travel is a key priority for Nestrans, and the feedback from these surveys will help us find ways to support and sustain these changes as much as possible as restrictions ease.

“We face an uncertain period ahead, and I’m sure people will be interested to see the findings of these surveys as things change over the coming months.”

The reports from the first two surveys showing the full results are available on the Nestrans website.



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