Scotland’s third largest city, Aberdeen, is putting public transport and cycling at the heart of a transport policy aimed at supporting anticipated economic growth in the years ahead – with council leader Barney Crockett telling motorists they may have to leave their “nice cars” at home.
The Granite City, already a major business destination thanks to its links to the oil industry, is set to benefit from some £300 million of investment in the coming years to help build its economy further.
“There will be a shift in the relationship with the car, because this is going to be one of the most intense business cities in the world,” Mr Ronay, leader of the Labour group that controls the council, told the Press & Journal.
“If you look at cities of that kind, then obviously public transport takes on a bigger and bigger role.
“We have an unusual aspect in our city, in how prosperous many people are, so obviously they have nice cars and want to use them, so we will have that balance to make.
“But the key to the future is the ability to attract the most mobile, highly educated specialists and, disproportionately, people will be interested in public transport and in alternative transport and alternative energies.”
The city’s enterprise, planning and infrastructure director, Gordon McIntosh, said that one lesson he had drawn from speaking to the mayor of Copenhagen that the reason levels of cycling use are so high there was not because it was considered ‘green’ but because “it is the quickest way to get from A to B.”
He said: “Because of the congestion there was in Copenhagen, and the fact they protected the architecture and the street design, people used bicycles to get around the central parts.
“We need that type of modal shift, and anything we do would be looking at European cities, which have cycle lanes and walking lanes alongside any of the interventions they have in terms of light rail or anything else.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.