Walking

A technical assessment of Scottish business parks has found urgent action is needed to create the right conditions for walking and cycling. 

 

Living Streets Scotland carried out a technical assessment of seven business parks to review the conditions for walking and cycling. 

The sites were Aberdeen Innovation Park, Riverview Business Park (Perth), Castle Business Park (Stirling), Strathclyde Business Park, Dundee Technology Park, South Gyle (Edinburgh), West of Scotland Science Park (Glasgow), and Lothian Road (Edinburgh). 

The review considered:

  • Whether it was practical for people to walk and cycle to the business parks, including doing part of the journey by public transport, and
  • What design elements support walkingwheeling and cycling, and what works against these?
  • What can we learn from this research, looking to a future where we begin to prioritise walking and cycling over travel by private car?  

The findings

We found the business parks are built in areas outside of towns and cities which are more likely to be accessed by cars than other forms of transport.  

Most of the business parks we looked at were located next to major roads or motorways, with little priority given to access on foot, by bicycle, or public transport. This contradicts established national planning policies, aimed at reducing car use and encouraging active travel.

Strathclyde business park

Photos provided by David Giles

Castle business park

The parks face onto major roads, and the layout of the parks is designed to be accessed by cars over other forms of transport.  

Large areas of the business parks are given over to car access and car parking, at the expense of people walking or cycling.

The parks we studied seemed to have been designed on an assumption that people visiting would do so by car. Pedestrian and bike access is technically possible, but is provided as an afterthought in terms of access and layout. This contradicts the Government’s aspirations for design and place. 

 

The business parks are cut off from the surrounding areas which makes them harder to access on foot or by bike, or on public transport.

Parks are often surrounded by major roads, woodland or secluded paths through greenspaces, and the backs of residential properties. This creates significant obstacles for people walking and cycling.

Strathclyde business park

Recommendations

We considered changes needed to the existing parks, and what is needed for a different approach in future. 

Location  

Business parks should be accessible from other locations - for example, a reasonable walking distance from nearby residential areas and a reasonable cycling distance from the city centre. Public transport options need to be within a 15-minute walk.  

Design 

Park sites should be designed to be more pleasant for walking and cycling, which would encourage people to be more active during the working day and improve the quality of experience of working at these locations. 

Connections  

Business parks should be connected to the local area, connected by nearby urban streets and not just major roads.

 

 

Walking

Download the report

Download the report