Cadworks Champions Glasgow's Active Travel Revolution

6th Feb 2024

Basil Demeroutis

When the heart of a city is home to people and not only businesses, the city is also healthy. The lifeblood offered by an active, busy, central population is not just confined to the nighttime and weekend economies, but flows through the weekdays too; cafes and shops are busier; a community grows and evolves.

As developer of Cadworks – Scotland’s most sustainable office development – in Glasgow City Centre, we have watched the City evolve over recent years, from the silence caused by the pandemic to the gradual turn of the tide as Glasgow re-awakens and people come back to the office, bringing local cafes, restaurants and bars back to life.

As a city, Glasgow has fewer people actually living in its centre than many others, such as Manchester and Birmingham. People tend to live in the West End, the Southside and the suburbs, driven historically in part by a need to escape traffic fumes and road noise.

With city centre businesses still highly pressured by lack of footfall and the legacy of covid closures, Glasgow City Council’s strategy is to double its city centre population by 2035. This will be achieved by the creation of new city centre homes – some above shops and some proposed as new developments – underpinned by supporting infrastructure, which could include schools and healthcare, as well as the continued investment in the City by developers and businesses.  

The Low Emissions Zone will also play its part, reducing harmful emissions in an area that will become more residential over time.  So too the new cycling infrastructure put in place by the city, and within innovative buildings such as Cadworks.

One of the key outcomes of this strategy where the City Centre becomes more than simply a business zone, is that we reduce the friction of traveling actively between home and the city centre.

For example, if you live in one quarter of the city and work in another, you’re far more likely to travel there by bike, foot or scooter, than to drive, not just because of the short distances but also because of the relative safety of cycling or walking in a centre with lower emissions and safe routes.

5979 115Cycling from the suburbs is great for experienced cyclists but realistically, many lack the confidence and the safe routes to do so, although this is also being strategically addressed by via improved routes – for example, 13% of all journeys through Victoria Road, linking the Southside and City Centre, are now made by bike according to Cycling Scotland, thanks to a new safe cycle route.

Equally, a challenge for many active commuters is the lack of facilities offered by many workplaces. If there are not good showers, changing, drying facilities, the experience is not ‘frictionless’, and therefore people shy away from doing it.

As Katharine Brough, Head of Grant Funding and Partnerships, Cycling Scotland, says: 

Transport is the largest source of carbon emissions in Scotland and we need to help more people to cycle, walk and wheel safely. Investing in dedicated, separated cycling lanes and providing cycle parking facilities are key to enabling more people to travel by bike, reducing car traffic and emissions and improving public health.

Around 8% of adults usually or regularly cycle to work and this has been steadily increasing over the last few years as more people discover all the benefits.*

The facilities for people cycling to work at Cadworks are brilliant – being able to cycle directly and easily into the bike storage and adjoining changing area is so practical, saves time and shows that traveling to work by bike is a welcomed part of their culture.

At Cadworks in Glasgow City Centre one of our key tenets is to support active travel.  In fact, despite being a 95,000 sq.ft. office space, we have no parking other than for a very small number of EVs. 

The Cadworks Building in Glasgow's IFSDWe do, however, have an unparalleled amount of cycle storage, for all types of bikes as well as a maintenance station, cooling stations and state-of-the-art changing facilities, all accessed by the City’s first cycle-in access ramp. We make the journey, door to door, as easy as possible, encouraging cycle and foot power at every opportunity.

We strongly support active travel on both health and environmental grounds. More people, from varied demographics, actually living in the City Centre, will bring us further into line with other vibrant, active cities, that don’t stall during the day and don’t only come alive on Saturday nights.

People will walk or cycle to work, reducing harmful emissions.  People will come back to offices and therefore use local businesses such as cafes and independent shops.  And the city will, over time, reactivate and evolve.

We are looking forward to seeing these changes and working with our Cadworks community as we all adapt to what will be the new Glasgow.  

*Source- The latest figure for adults who usually or regularly travel to work by bike was 7.9% in the 2021 Scottish Household Survey. This is the highest result in the last 12 years.