TRED (eBikes & Active Travel)

Trossachs rural eBike demo (TRED) – Phase One

TRED is a bike share demonstration within Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park that will prove the concept of using eBikes to reduce transport poverty and encourage active travel in rural areas. Phase one of this project will focus on discussing the suitability of eBikes as an alternative mode of rural transport, encouraging behaviour change and promoting the use of eBikes along the NCN7. Through these activities we will build evidence to support future capital funding bids to the Energy Saving Trust eBike Grant Fund and others.

In the National Park our gradients and distances are above the norm and hence an innovative e-bike system is essential if a modal shift towards active travel is to be achieved. Modal shift has been shown to be 17% for e-bikes as opposed to 7% for non-electric bikes. The communities of Aberfoyle and Callander in particular could suit short utility journeys, linking schools, medical centres and leisure services. Dispersed rural villages would also benefit from improved facilities for active travel between villages where limited public transport restricts travel options. The network area incorporates communities covered by six community action plans all of which reference rural transport, path or cycle infrastructure within their essential priorities for action.

This project contributes towards the aspirations for active travel set out in the Governments Programme for Scotland that specifically refers to stepping up the promotion of electric bicycles. It also contributes to a range of national outcomes and sustainable development goals covering the full breadth of the National Performance Framework:
• We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment (promoting visits to the outdoors, climate action and enhancing economic growth and infrastructure)
• We are healthy and active (increasing journeys by active travel, improving health & wellbeing, increasing physical activity and reducing pollution)
• We have thriving & innovative businesses (reducing inequalities and improving infrastructure for a local workforce and creating new markets)
• We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society (increasing opportunities for young people by reducing transport inequality)
• We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe (improving perceptions of rural villages, increasing access to green space, reducing loneliness and creating sustainable communities)
• We tackle poverty (by addressing transport poverty in rural areas)
• We are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally (creating a positive experience for international visitors to the National Park)
• We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy (If successful TRED could be rolled out to national or international recognition)

TRED will provide opportunities to promote the National Walking and Cycling Network (a National Priority in Scotland through NPF3), particularly route NCN7 and the Rob Roy Way for everyday journeys. This will add value to work undertaken by Sustrans and Scottish Natural Heritage. Using eBikes on these long distance routes would open up around 122km of safe cycling experiences that will enable more people who do not currently cycle and those who experience disadvantage (such as women, people living with long term illness or disability) to be physically active in the National Park. During this this phase we will provide opportunities for people to spend active time outdoors; encouraging people to get closer to nature through eBike journeys on the NWCN

Above: The TRED area from Drymen to Strathyre (points indicative only as this is only the start of a multi-year discussion)
Phase One: Promoting eBikes on the NCN7
Funded by the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Fund (managed by Paths for All), Scottish Natural Heritage and Forth Environment Link
Also with eBikes funded through the eBike Grant Fund (managed by Energy Saving Trust)

With this funding we will employ a full time Active Travel Project Offer who will:
• Lead on TRED project development
• Devise a programme to evaluate baseline active travel data within the Trossachs (specifically focussing on the NCN7 corridor between Drymen and Strathyre)
• Present these findings to stakeholders and funders, supporting the expansion / full delivery of the TRED project and ultimately facilitating a shared eBike scheme along the NCN7
• Devise and deliver a programme of events and awareness raising activities to increase the level of active travel in this area. These events will showcase the NWCN and eBikes, encouraging greater or new levels of use by currently non using audiences (this could be by increasing distances travelled, increasing number of journeys or establishing a new users of NWCN across the population resident/visiting/working/etc)
• Provide opportunities for people to spend active time outdoors. Encourage people to get closer to nature through e-bike journeys on the NWCN
• Production of NWCN related eBike promotional materials and communications that promote the use of NCN7 and any Scottish Great Trail sections, for example printed materials and outdoor signage
• Manage the loan of eBikes within this area and report on perceptions of eBikes as an alternative mode of transport
• Support others working on sustainable travel projects in the Trossachs
• If an opportunity arises present the project at the NWCN steering group and active travel conference
• Support communities to complete Active Travel action plans in partnership with Forth Environment Link

Outcomes from this funding:
• Increased use of the NCN7 and other sections of Scotlands Great Trails (SGT) for active travel, in particular using eBikes
• Increased awareness of eBikes as a suitable mode of active travel for rural areas
• Changed perceptions within a rural area about the potential of the NCN7 and other SGT sections as a viable active travel option for short journeys
• More people experiencing improved health and wellbeing as a result of being less isolated, having greater opportunities to take part in physical activity and through being more connected to nature
• Increased support for the TRED project and buy in from communities, businesses and funders, backed by evidence of the need and potential benefits of this project