Active Travel: Why is Transition UStA such a well known player in the Active Travel field?

Active Travel

As you may know, we run A LOT of projects surrounding Active Travel in St Andrews. However, what is not so obvious is how we create these projects and ensure they all work together to support an overall goal. How do we manage it with such a small team? And why are our projects always popping up in presentations as good examples of work being done in the active travel field? In this blog post you will find out more about why we at Transition value active travel so much and how we work to get the most benefit for all.

How do we decide which projects to work on?

It is well known that Transition is a community-based organisation, where we take into account the needs of all in St Andrews. A lot of our projects are based on the needs of the staff and students at the University, because this is an area in which we can make a huge difference, however most of our services are also open to the local community! Within the university we facilitate a Bike User Group which contains a wide variety of representatives from staff and student bodies as well as local community members. This group helps us direct our cycle strategy and get a town wide perspective on the travel environment. We meet once a month to discuss ideas and give updates. Regular travel specific surveys help us monitor progress and identify areas of improvement. We are also directed by our funding which sometimes comes with certain conditions. For example, Tamzin (hello!) our Campus Cycling Officer is supported by Cycling Scotland which helps universities and colleges promote cycling as a healthy and sustainable travel option. They also aim to use cycling to support the mental health of students as well as encouraging them to stay active and save on transport costs.  Within the community we work with projects like the Crail to St Andrews Path Network and St Andrews Space for Cycles and facilitating relationships like these have been essential to our success. Admittedly we are a unique project for taking this ‘town and gown approach’, but by having all these organisations, both University and Community, work as a tightly knitted team we reap the benefits as a whole and open a whole new avenue of opportunities.

What are our priorities?

Reducing single person car usage is a big part of our work. One of our core aims is to provide accessible alternatives and support lift sharing since this is a huge contributor to our emissions as well as having minimal benefit in other areas such as health, cost savings and congestion. Of course, we understand that cars are an essential part of life and by no means are we suggesting that active travel can completely replace their usage. However, as with everything, moderation is key and if you can make a difference by participating in our lift share scheme every so often or even walking to work then we encourage you to do it!

Since we are a small team, we also prioritise supporting the work of others so we can expand and do more. We run extensive volunteering schemes across most of our active travel projects, for example why not become a bike pool volunteer? Or a walk buddy? Recently we supported an amazing group of students with their walk with transition project which aimed help improve community wellbeing by organising walking pairs who could help combat feeling of loneliness, isolation and a lack of connection with nature.  A feeling all too common nowadays! If you have a project you would like us to support or want to become an Active Travel Champion then we would be more than happy to help you out.  

At Transition we passionately believe that Active Travel should be an option accessible to all. We are currently doing research on how we can ensure that our work is inclusive as well as working on some really really exciting projects that will look to explore barriers to minorities in Active Travel. If you have any feedback on your experiences in Active Travel, please let us know!

So what is the overall goal?

The University would like to see a decrease in their emissions and happier, healthier staff and students. The community would like less congestion, more accessible travel routes and safer roads. Of course we aim to meet these goals, but ultimately our active travel team want to see you travelling in a safer, sustainable and smarter way. We believe the reason we are so effective is because we aren’t just interested in the numbers, we truly care about this community and its people. Give it a go and we promise you won’t regret it!

Do you have a topic for our active travel blog? Something you would like to discuss or simply think would be interesting? Please email td57@st-andrews.ac.uk, We’d love to hear from you!