Holyrood Elections 2021 Scottish Party Manifestos - Active Travel Commitments

In April 2021 all the major political parties in Scotland published their manifestos for the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections.

We've pulled together a one-stop-shop of information to see what every major Scottish party is committing to in relation to active travel.

This will allow readers to make up their own minds on which ones represent the best for them.

In order of dates published, we've outlined the key commitments made by each party in relation to active travel. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each party for constructive engagement during their manifesto development process.

We look forward to working with all parties in the new parliamentary session.

Sustrans Scotland manifesto asks 2021

In February we published our own manifesto.

These measures will allow more of Scotland to choose to walk, wheel or cycle, making our country a greener, healthier and more inclusive place to live.


Continue funding to enable walking, wheeling and cycling and deliver high quality infrastructure.


Support safe ways to make healthier, cleaner commutes in cities and towns.


Help local authorities create towns and cities that put people first.


Make streets around our schools safer and healthier.


Link communities with a Scotland-wide active travel highway network.


Support making cycling available to everyone.


A man And A Woman Cycle On A London Road

We believe our manifesto asks will help to ensure a green and sustainable post-Covid recovery that is fair for all people in Scotland.

Scottish Greens

Our Common Future


  • Cease funding road building projects that add capacity to the network and redirect funds toward safety improvements, maintenance of existing. infrastructure, public transport, cycling and walking
  • Review transport governance, including Transport Scotland, and infrastructure investment programmes, to ensure they are fully aligned behind tackling the climate emergency.

Investment in cycling, walking and 15-minute neighbourhoods  

  • Immediately increase the active travel budget to at least £320m.
  • Aim to increase the overall budget for cycling, walking, city centre transformation and 15-minute neighbourhoods to 20% of the national transport budget.   
  • Make 15-minute neighbourhoods a key principle in Scotland’s Planning Policy Framework.  
  • Create a town and city centre green transformation fund to re-orient these places towards pedestrians, cyclists and vulnerable road users including children, the elderly and disabled people.  
  • Deliver a reinvigorated national cycling and wheeling network, including active highways through rural areas to link towns and cities.  
  • Streamline the process for designing and building active travel infrastructure and introduce new design standards that prioritise accessibility.  
  • Support a Safe to School programme to ensure every child who lives within two miles of school is able to safely walk or wheel there.
  • Introduce a 20mph default speed limit in built-up areas, saving lives and making cycling and walking safer and more attractive.
  • Support smart ticketing across Scotland for all public transport so that a smart card or phone can be used to pay for a whole journey, including bike hire. 
  • Establish an online police reporting system enabling anyone to upload camera footage of dangerous driving.


Scottish National Party

Scotland’s Future

Active Travel

  • Spending - by the end of the parliament - 10% of the transport capital budget on walking, cycling and wheeling.
  • We will create, repair and improve a Scotland-wide active travel network to ensure that every town has access to a high quality and separated walking and cycling network, allowing safe daily commutes and reducing dependence on private motor vehicles.
  • To encourage our youngest citizens, we will provide free bikes for all children of school age who cannot afford them and ensure every child in Scotland leaves school with the ability to cycle safely. To make owning a bike an option for everyone, and reduce transport poverty, we will make loans and grants available for the purchase of pedal cycles and for their repair.

20-minute Neighbourhoods

  • We will take forward our ambitions for 20-minute neighbourhoods: the creation of liveable, accessible places, with thriving local economies, where people can meet their daily needs within a 20-minute walk – enabling people to live better, healthier lives and supporting our net zero ambitions.
  • By changing our approach to transport, housing and public services we can make 20-minute neighbourhoods a reality as we recover from the pandemic.

Switching from Cars

  • We will reduce the use of cars – measured as ‘car kilometres’ - by 20% by 2030, taking car use back to levels last seen in the 1990s.


Scottish Liberal Democrats

Put Recovery First

Supporting low-carbon transport

  • Change town planning processes to make sure roads have separate spaces for cyclists, walkers and motorists, to keep them all safe.
  • Make cycling more attractive with a new challenge fund to help install showers and changing rooms in workplaces or community facilities.
  • Decarbonise commuting through more support for e-bikes, as part of a plan to increase government support for households to buy or use forms of electric transport.
  • Aim to double the share of the budget spent on active travel, and bring forward the £50 million programme for Active Freeway routes from town centres to outlying neighbourhoods, which has been delayed until 2025 by the current government.
  • Plan so that every child has done their cycling proficiency test by the end of primary school, and every adult can take tuition and a test if they want it.


Scottish Conservatives

Rebuild Scotland

Active Travel

  • During the pandemic, the number of people cycling and walking to work has increased and we must take steps to maintain this. Due to the changed context, the Scottish Government’s 2030 active travel ambition should be brought forward to the end of the next Parliament.
  • Over the course of the next Parliament, we would increase the share of the transport budget which is spent on active travel to 10 per cent.
  • All local schemes must meet a range of standards to ensure they are suitable for buggies, wheelchair users and older people, set by the Active Nation Commissioner whose role should be put on a statutory footing.
  • Temporary schemes implemented during the pandemic must be evaluated and only maintained if they have been effective.
  • Councils should lead post-COVID reviews of changed travel patterns in their area and be encouraged to create more low traffic neighbourhoods, bus and bike only roads, school streets and low emission zones where they would be beneficial.
  • By the end of the next Parliament, every city in Scotland should have a cycle network designed for commuting. 
  • In 2021, we would invest £1 million in cycle proficiency training for adults and cycle repair vouchers to encourage more people to take up cycling.


Scottish Labour

Scottish Labour’s National Recovery Plan


  • We will increase active travel spending to 10% of the overall transport budget, giving priority to encouraging and enabling people to get out of their cars, onto bikes, increasing walking and public transport use for better health and a cleaner environment.
  • This will include assessing and developing safe cycling routes. We would invest in councils to create urban and rural safe active travel routes.
  • We will also use the planning system in urban areas to plan for less car use, making all residential areas low traffic neighbourhoods by reducing speeds and volumes of through traffic while maintaining local access for those who need it.
  • We will consult on changing the default speed limit on restricted roads to 20 mph, to ensure safer speeds where people live, work and play.
  • We will create neighbourhoods where people can access all the services they need within a 20-minute walk.
  • Scottish Labour will develop and deliver an active travel plan with enforceable targets for cycling and walking levels, to include a survey of condition and funding of maintenance of the path network.
  • We will implement a gendered approach to transport infrastructure, ensuring women’s safety, convenience and affordability are properly addressed.
  • After the long Scottish Government delays we will reprioritise and expand the implementation of low emission zones in Scotland.
  • We will explore the implementation of minimum air quality standards around our schools.
  • Planning of new developments and regeneration of existing areas should be around green infrastructure linking communities and habitats, allowing easy access for walking and cycling and incorporating a variety of landscapes including trees, pedestrian and cycle pathways, play areas, food growing spaces as well as flood mitigation measures.

Read our manifesto asks for political parties in Scotland.

Download a comparison of the party commitments against the Sustrans Scotland manifesto asks.