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.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.