Glasgow to use some of £24 million Future City funding to help boost cycling levels

'Intuitive' lighting, mapping tools and smartphone app to be piloted in bid to get more people on bikes

by Simon_MacMichael   July 9, 2013  

Glasgow City Chambers - picture by Finlay McWalter

‘Intuitive lighting,’ mapping tools and a smartphone app for cyclists to help them plan journeys and which will include video footage of proposed routes are among initiatives to be piloted in Glasgow after winning £24 million in Future City funding from the government.

In January, it was announced that Scotland’s largest city had beaten off 29 rival bidders from throughout the UK, each receiving £50,000 to develop their ideas, with Bristol, London and Peterborough also making it through to the semi-final stage last December.

The Future City / Glasgow project involves the public, private and academic sectors, with partners including Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community & Safety Services, Sustainable Glasgow, Strathclyde University, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Police Scotland.

While the city’s plans cut across a number of areas, encouraging active travel is one of the central pillars of its proposals, and specifically harnessing technology to get more people to take to their bikes, or carry out journeys on foot.

According to Glasgow City Council,

Data collected by people who currently walk or cycle will identify the routes they use most to travel around the city. The aim is to encourage people to map their city using a smartphone app being developed by the team and to share the information through a MapGlasgow website which is also being created as part of the Demonstrator.

A separate Active Travel Journey Planner is also being developed which will enable cyclists and walkers to use their phones to easily and instantly find the most direct, flattest or off road route to their destination within the city before setting off on their journey. This app will integrate with the mapping app to enable people to share their favourite walks / cycle routes.

Analysis of the information collected will be used to influence future spending in the city and determine the measures needed to address issues raised such as safety and accessibility.

Another pilot project will explore the use of intuitive street lights on an off -road stretch of the city's cycle routes. Many off-road routes are currently unlit but the pilot will see lights installed and fitted with sensors. The lights will dim when there is no activity on the route (to reduce emissions and save energy) then increase in brightness when the sensors detect approaching cyclists or walkers.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, commented: "The Future Cities Demonstrator is an extremely exciting programme which will realise real benefits for the city.

“The council aims to transform Glasgow into a city of active living by encouraging walking and cycling. The Demonstrator's Active Travel project will contribute to that goal through the clever use of technology and by empowering cyclists to contribute their views on the improvements needed to make cycling and walking safer and easier in the city.

"The city's new Connect2 cycle route will also provide a link from Kelvingrove through Anderston to the city centre and the introduction of an automated cycle hire scheme will also encourage people to travel around the city by bike.

“I'm looking forward to the launch of Glasgow's Future City cycling apps and hope people will seize this opportunity to participate in the project and be part of the solution to problems like traffic congestion, obesity and poor health."

Last month, the city hosted the British national road race championships, with Mark Cavendish and Lizzie Armitstead respectively winning the men’s and women’s titles.

Next year, it will welcome the Commonwealth Games, with the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, which has already been the venue of a round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, one of the new facilities built for the occasion.

Levels of everyday cycling remain low, however – just 2 per cent of journeys into the city centre – which is something that Glasgow City Council is looking to significantly improve upon.

There is a long way, however, to go for the city to get close to matching the Scottish Government’s target of 10 per cent of journeys across the country to be made by bike by 2020 – a goal that campaigners Pedal on Parliament say needs to be supported by a similar level of the national transport budget being devoted to cycling.

7 user comments

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I was just discussing this in work with a cycling colleague

The smartphone app to gather data is an interesting idea - but he points out that through Strava, MapMyRide et. al. there is probably already a large body of publicly available data that could be leveraged

posted by mad_scot_rider [514 posts]
9th July 2013 - 16:27

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FIX THE DAMN ROADS, muppets.

David Bowie agrees with me

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1047 posts]
9th July 2013 - 20:01

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I think cycle use figures are seriously under-estimated given the number of bikes parking daily on cycle stands around the city.

Sadly half a century ago Glasgow messed up badly by rescinding the condition that a strip of land 15 feet wide had to be maintained as a clear public right of access along both banks of the river - now we will have a mountain to climb to create a riverside environment equivalent to many major cities elsewhere.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [428 posts]
9th July 2013 - 22:37

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Wish they would do this in the US!

posted by Sealad [3 posts]
10th July 2013 - 0:17

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Pretty clear what you need in order to get cycling: a joined-up **network** of well-maintained, smooth-surfaced, safe, segregated, adequately-wide, cycle-paths.

It's not rocket science. You just need to start building out those paths from centres of employment, education and residence. Just a matter of having the will-power to deploy the required time and money.

posted by Paul J [423 posts]
10th July 2013 - 9:10

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Great for Glasgow, Boris should get this winning team to come up with a strategy for us in London! Smile Capital Cycles

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
10th July 2013 - 18:24

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Well said fix the roads. We dont need Apps or videos or any of that crap. The paths and roads are a disgrace so spend the money on these as thats the important thing.But it will be wasted by the council on some stupid scheme that will line one of there pockets no doubt.

posted by joebee9870 [54 posts]
15th July 2013 - 21:10

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