Stirling residents embrace active travel as they walk and wheel for almost 20 million miles

People across the Stirling area walked and wheeled* for a total of 19.9 million miles in 2023, a new report has revealed.

A sunny day and a smiling man and a woman stand next to a bicycle on a cycle path, with a castle in the background.
Councillor Jen Preston - pictured with Marco Farnocchi, Sustainable Transport Officer for Sustrans/Stirling Council - has welcomed the latest Walking and Cycling Index.

The Walking and Cycling Index from Sustrans – the biggest assessment of walking, wheeling and cycling in cities and urban areas across the UK and Ireland – has shown that 18 million trips were made by walking and wheeling last year, bringing an economic benefit to Stirling of £27.2 million.

The latest Index showed 53 per cent of local residents walk or wheel at least five days a week, with 19 per cent of residents cycling at least once a week.

The Stirling Walking and Cycling Index reports every two years. The report, which was launched yesterday (Monday, 25th March) at the Albert Halls, is the third from Stirling, produced by Sustrans in partnership with Stirling Council.


Stirling Council’s convener for the Environment, Transport and Net Zero committee, Cllr Jen Preston, said: “This report comes at an important time as we see high quality active travel routes taking shape all around the city.

“We’re grateful to the Scottish Government, Sustrans and Transport Scotland for their investment in Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling, in particular, which will provide key infrastructure for walking and wheeling that isn’t funded from our core Council budget.

“This report presents evidence to further support investment in active travel that will deliver us to our final destination – the improvement of health and fitness benefits at all age groups, a reduction in carbon emissions and a Stirling where every trip is net zero.”

An infographic featuring a young child leaning over the handlebars of his bicycle, next to text that reads 'Walking and Cycling Index 2023 - Stirling.'
It is estimated walking in Stirling prevents 89 serious long term health conditions each year, saving the NHS £1.1 million.

Stirling Council is working to deliver significant infrastructure improvements to meet the walking and cycling aspirations of local people through projects such as Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling.

It is a cornerstone of the £90.2 million Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal and will create two new, fully connected travel corridors between the city centre and the University of Stirling and city centre and Forth Valley College. 

The £9.5 million project has been funded by Sustrans, through Transport Scotland, and the Scottish Government, as well as £258,000 from Stirling Council’s developer contributions allocation.

It is estimated walking in Stirling prevents 89 serious long term health conditions each year, saving the NHS £1.1 million, while walking and wheeling also saves 1,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.


Karen McGregor, Director, Sustrans Scotland, said: “I’d like to thank the people of Stirling who gave us their time to take part in the Walking and Cycling Index. The Index results show that making walking, wheeling and cycling the most accessible and desirable form of transport is of great importance to people, especially during the current cost of living crisis.

“There is clear evidence that residents in the city want the option to walk, wheel and cycle to where they need to get to more often and to have generous pavements that are well-maintained and clear of parked cars; they want safe, accessible cycle paths and pedestrian crossings; and they want more investment in public transport.

“The latest Index results show that Stirling Council has the backing of the public to build on the work it has already started to make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle to get around.”

The Walking and Cycling Index is supported by funding from Transport Scotland.

Walking and Cycling Index 2023 

Sustrans' Stirling report link can be accessed here:

The 18 UK Walking and Cycling Index urban areas are: Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Greater Cambridge, Cardiff, Dundee, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Perth, Southampton City Region, Stirling, Tower Hamlets, Tyneside, and the West Midlands. 

The Walking and Cycling Index also covers five urban areas in the Republic of Ireland: Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.  

Where do the findings come from?  

The findings are based on data collected by the city authorities themselves, national data sets and an independent survey of between 1,071 and 1,338 residents in each of the 18 UK cities and areas. Respondents are representative of the population of each city, not just people who walk and cycle. They were asked a range of questions related to their travel behaviours, perceptions of walking and cycling and what they would like to see happen.   

The attitudinal survey was conducted from March to June 2023 by independent social research organisation NatCen. Sustrans’ own Research and Monitoring Unit collected and analysed the findings. Subsequently, Sustrans produced 18 UK city reports, a report based on aggregated data from all the UK cities, and a report based on aggregated data from all the Scottish cities. 

*Define wheeling 

Sustrans recognises that some people who use wheeled mobility aids, for example a wheelchair or a mobility scooter, may not identify with the term walking and may prefer to use the term wheeling. Sustrans use the terms walking and wheeling together to ensure they are as inclusive as possible.