An exciting exploration of the future of travel

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A major travel and transport event held last week in Brodick provided an exciting exploration of the future where it is hoped low carbon and active travel is the norm not the exception, for everyone on Arran.

What will travel and transport on Arran in 10 years look like? Will there be 100 per cent electrified vehicles, self-driving cars or perhaps a public transport and active travel system so good we won’t even need cars.

These topics were brought to the fore as Arran residents gathered for the Arran in 10 Years: Travel and Transport event hosted by Arran Eco Savvy Sustainable Island Life (SIL) project team and supported by over 10 local and national travel and transport focussed organisations.

The event was an opportunity for organisations with travel and transport priorities to support Arran residents in the adoption of sustainable travel, to absorb local insight valuable to improving service offerings and widely challenge everyone to think about what Arran’s travel and transport will be like in 10 years. People were encouraged to think creatively, positively and ambitiously about the future of sustainable travel on the island, and ultimately cultivate a community where active travel is the norm.

The first part of the event saw over 100 community members engage with the following organisations: Arran Bike Club, Arran Mountain Bike Club,
Home Energy Scotland, Sustrans, Transport Scotland, Cycling UK, National Trust Brodick Castle, North Ayrshire Council, Arran Community Voluntary Service, Arran Medial Group and the Arran Trust.

As well as this, event attendees were welcomed to trial the SIL project’s expanded fleet of eBikes, including one eTrike which proved popular with residents of all ages and physical capabilities queuing for trials.

The highlight of the event seemed to be the 3 by 2 metre map of Arran, which locals were invited to evolve by drawing their current active travel journeys. The routes contributed by community members will be used to inform other residents and tourists looking to travel more sustainably on Arran through Arran’s first Savvy Travel map.

The event also saw Eco Savvy project manager Jude King give event attendees insight into the Sustainable Island Life project, funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate challenge fund and multi-dimensional, delivering activities in sustainable travel, food and energy efficiency as well as climate literacy education. The project is set to save 6 per cent of Arran’s annual domestic CO2e emissions.

The travel strand of the SIL project is delivering an island wide eBike programme launched in June, that has seen eight businesses involved so far and 48 employees within them having the chance to use a range of eBikes for daily journeys for up to a month.

Businesses involved in the eBike Scheme so far have been: Lochranza distillery, Arran Dairies, NHS Arran Medical Group, Woodside Farm
and The Kinloch Hotel.

As well as this, Eco Savvy is set to deliver Arran’s first Savvy Active Travel Map, and Island Lift share scheme, bike maintenance points and tool library, provide an online resource of sustainable travel information specific to Arran, as well as continued travel and transport workshops and events.

Next was a chance for the community to hear about the current National Transport Review from guest speaker Sharron Jefferey’s of Transport Scotland. Transport Scotland launched the consultation on the draft Strategy on Wednesday 31 July and Arran residents were encouraged to make their views heard before the deadline of the 23rd of October. This can be done online at: www.transport.gov.scot/NTS2

The event was rounded off with the opportunity for locals to participate in lively community discussion set to visualise and shape the future of travel and transport on Arran. Residents enthusiastically took part in discussion, led by sustainable travel coordinators Andrew and Emma,  identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of Arran’s travel and transport systems. From strengths citing kind bus drivers and good cycling hills, to weaknesses such as no bike racks on busses identified, there were common views discovered and shared by all. Community discussion was largely centred around the opportunities of the future with over 40 future opportunities and ideas identified and discussed.

Jude King said afterwards: ‘With a rapidly changing world impacted by explosive environmental, social, economic, technological and political factors, it’s crucial for us to plan and be proactive for the future we want to inhabit. This event hopefully contributed to the strengthening of a collective voice, understanding and action for sustainability in travel and transport on Arran.

‘From the engagement at the event it is evident that there are many mutual concerns over weaknesses and threats of Arran’s travel and transport systems, many of which can be converted to strengths and exciting opportunities. Thank you to everyone who came and participated and to all the organisations that contributed; from here we hope that the community and our partner organisations keep up this momentum so we can deliver some of the change that Arran in 10 years needs.’

Gerard Tattersfield of the Arran Bike Club added: ‘I hope this could be the start of our local island community coming together to help inform and solve our future local travel and transport issues, rather than waiting for others who may not understand how unique Arran’s issues can be, to do it for us.’

And sustainable travel coordinator Emma Tracey said: ‘Overall, Arran in 10 years was a refreshing and exciting exploration of the future, with a palpable enthusiasm for change, we aim to support an Island where low carbon and active travel is the norm and not the exception, for everyone on Arran. If you would like to implement a change to the way you travel get in touch with Andrew Binnie or myself.’