A report published today finds that over 75 per cent of young people in Scotland have never heard of the term ‘active travel’ (walking and cycling) and 24 per cent do not have access to a bicycle.

The report by XRoute – a Co-design project commissioned by the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (Sestran) – is the result of a Young Scot project working with young people to shape and influence sustainable travel services and low carbon activity

Over 900 young people, aged 11-25, across Scotland contributed to the XRoute research. 81 per cent walk often in their local area and 18 per cent often cycle in their local area.  57 per cent of young people in Scotland say they join up their active travel journeys with public transport.

As part of the XRoute project young people from Larbert High School (Falkirk), The Vennie (West Lothian), Tweeddale Youth Action (Scottish Borders) and Recharge (Tranent in East Lothian) worked with the partners to build on the research to provide insight into the barriers and opportunities surrounding active travel.

Young people reported that that lack of signposting for cycle support services, the cost of bikes and safety equipment, cyclist safety and bike storage, and peer pressure surrounding the journey to school and college, make active travel less likely.

The young people suggested future action should focus on encouraging young people to make use of cycle routes – including creating a cycling awareness course for schools, improving route signage, adding cycling as part of the Physical Education curriculum, and reviewing bike security and storage around key locations.

Sestran has already acted on many of recommendations and will use the research to shape their activities going forward.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Chair of Sestran, said “The aim of the study is to give the commuters of the future a platform and opportunity to have their say on things that would encourage them to make active travel an easy and natural choice. Sestran looks forward to continuing its partnership working with Young Scot and with young people to help deliver the recommendations and actions from the study and to highlight the importance of involving and engaging with young people in the transport planning process.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said “XRoute brought together young people from across Scotland to share ideas and their experiences of active travel. The research highlights the barriers young people face when travelling in a sustainable way. We’re looking forward to working with Sestran and other stakeholders across Scotland to use this insight to turn recommendations into action. This is about getting more young people cycling and walking often, regularly and with enthusiasm.”

For more information or to read the report in full, visit the Young Scot website young.scot.net