Cycle Counts, Glasgow City Centre

Over the last twelve years Glasgow City Council has commissioned a count of cyclists and pedestrians entering and leaving the city centre. The graph below shows counts of cyclists moving into and out of the city centre based on this 2-day survey in the period 2009 - 2021.

Cycle trends Glasgow 2009 2021
click to expand graph

There has been a 165% increase in cycle trips into and out of the city over this period. In 2021 the cordon survey counted over 13,800 trips into and out of the city per day by bicycle. This figure represents a 31% increase in the number of cycle trips compared to the previous year, which it should be borne in mind was the year when the Covid-19 pandemic stuck leading to associated work and travel restrictions. Between 2009 and 2021, cycle trips into and out of the city centre increased on average by 14% per year.  

There are several factors that may explain this rise. Glasgow's Mass Automated Cycle Hire (MACH) scheme was launched in June 2014 just prior to the start of the Commonwealth Games. The scheme initially provided 400 bikes for public hire at 31 locations across the city and with additional temporary sites at 6 Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games venues. Since then extra cycle hire stations in the east and south of the city have been added, as well as new bikes in September 2017 and again in August 2018. Since then the scheme has expanded further and now includes e-bikes.

The opening of the Tradeston (or Squiggly) bridge [location 31 on the map below], the completion of the West City Way (opened in 2013) and South West City Way (opened in 2015) and the developing South City Way, along with the success of the cycle hire scheme, are all likely to have contributed to rising cycle levels in the city.  

Glasgow City Council has undertaken annual surveys since 2007 to evaluate the number of pedestrians and cyclists entering and leaving the city as part of the annual monitoring of active travel patterns. A total of 35 sites form a cordon around the centre of the city - see map below - and are monitored between 6:00am and 8:00pm over two successive days each September. All pedestrian and cycle movement at these locations, to and from the city, are counted.

A blog on the most recent cordon count trends can be accessed here.

Map of the cordon count recording sites
Cordon map 2021click to expand image

Health benefits of cycling
In May 2013, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) published a study detailing the health economic benefits of cycle commuting into and out of the centre of Glasgow. This study was based on applying a Health Economic Analysis Tool (HEAT) for cycling - an online tool created by the World Health Organisation - to the cordon count data. A GCPH briefing paper describing the findings of this work can be accessed here.

In 2021, a journal paper assessing the health economic benefits of active commuting in Scotland based on Census data was published, wihch can be accesed here.

Other related resources

Trends in adult cyclists (and pedestrians) injured in road traffic accidents can be accessed here. The equivalent figures for child casualties are also available.

Glasgow City Council have a section of their website devoted to cycling in Glasgow, which includes: information about routes, cycle training, and local cycling organisations.  There is also an interactive map illustrating cycling facilities in the city. 

The most recent cycling plan for the city is Glasgow's strategic plan for cycling 2016-2025.

Previous policies and reports can also be accessed here: Glasgow Cycle Plan 2010 2020 and a summary of a Health Inequalities Impact Assessment of the Cycling Plan.

New publication:

In February 2020, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and Cycling Scotland jointly published Cycling in Scotland: a review of cycling casualties, near misses and under-reporting.  This report combines analysis of reported cycling casualties in Scotland over a 23-year period from 1995-2018 alongside a literature review of under-reporting and near misses. 

Additional Resources

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