The advent of Sustainable Transport in Scotland : The implementation of Glasgow’s Strategic Plans for Cycling and the case of South City Way
Abstract: This study explores the option of stimulating cycling activity as part of the strife of the modern city towards adopting the principles of sustainable development in order to shape the everyday habits of its inhabitants. The case of the city of Glasgow was chosen as an appropriate example of the potential obstacles and benefits which the implementation of cycling policies is attributed with. The Scottish city’s cycling agenda was analysed and interpreted in light of a broader international context by offering similar instances. This paper is divided into two main parts. The first one focuses on reviewing and assessing the key aspects of Glasgow’s Strategic Plan for Cycling 2016 - 2025 and questions its applicability/capability on achieving the cycling rates (10% of all journeys) stipulated by the Scottish government. This is done via a literature review and supplementary interviews by local experts and suggests that there is a strong correlation between cycling levels and governmental/ local council policies while also indicating that historical, cultural or climate-related tendencies do not have such a strong influence. The paper identifies Glasgow’s cycling plan as inclusive and contributing to the evolution of urban planning towards sustainability. Additionally, it is established that the plan creates liaisons between the state, the private sector and civil society (in the form of NGOs and local community groups as well as individuals), which has led to lasting partnerships based on the collaborative planning and execution of projects. Lastly, the analysis implies that Glasgow’s plan for cycling distinguishes deftly between applying soft or/and hard measures according to the needs of the local residents, in particular, the local users. The second part of the paper investigates the successes and shortcomings of Glasgow’s Strategic Plan for Cycling 2016 - 2025 when it comes to the case of the South City Way Development Project by drawing links from the prior analysis and additional primary data sources. The thesis suggests that the main difficulties associated with the project would stem from the inconsistent cooperation with local community groups, the lack of opportunities for citizen participation and to a lesser degree the insufficient amount of supporting cycling infrastructure (cycle parking). Cycling-related policies have proven to be able to play a significant role in achieving sustainable urban development. Glasgow City Council’s cycling plan underlines the importance of combining governmental standards, environmental needs and communal necessities but at the same time fails to implement them in practice in order to achieve the fundamental shift in behaviour set as a target by the Scottish government. Sidelining the essential partnership and cooperation with local stakeholders as well as community involvement would likely bring about fractured public support, limited outreach and thus diminished results. Having pooled considerable financial and human resources into creating the 2016 -2025 Strategic Plan for Cycling, the paper suggests that Glasgow City Council has to follow its guidelines strictly in order to lead its community towards sustainability.
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