Molly Stewart, University of Strathclyde

Molly Stewart, University of Strathclyde

There is a misconception that public transport is slow, expensive and unclean. In reality, the opposite is true. 

We live in a world where many people still believe that driving a car is essential for travel efficiency and overall socio-economic wellness. There is a further misconception that public transport is slow, expensive and unclean. In reality, the opposite is true. 

An efficient, affordable and accessible public transport system is key to solving the climate emergency, building a stronger economy, and creating a society with fewer inequalities and better health. For every citizen, taking public transport is a tangible contribution to these goals at both an individual and community level. However, work still needs to be done to create the necessary infrastructure systems which prioritise public transport, rather than private vehicles. Doing this requires an informed understanding of how public transport is perceived by, and engage with, all members of society. 

As part of my MSc in Sustainability and Environmental Studies at the University of Strathclyde, and in conjunction with Transform Scotland, I am investigating how people are currently travelling to work, why they travel that way, as well as their perception of, and engagement with, public transport in Glasgow. By understanding how communities in Scotland view public transport, the research will help Transform Scotland and their stakeholders kickstart meaningful change in travel behaviours – aiming to create a world where bus, train and subway are a desirable, affordable and accessible option for all. 

Data will be collected via surveys, interviews and focus groups, all asking a range of questions such as: what mode of transport participants typically use, how often participants are using public transport and if the participants are aware of the proposed low emission zones in Glasgow. 

The study will also uncover insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the usage and change the perceptions of travel on public transport. The world’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years has demonstrated just how resilient and adaptive the general public can be. There is no question that with the correct funding, legislation, education, and awareness, that public transport can become the first choice for people travelling in Scotland. 

Excitingly, this research is will be supporting the #lovemybus campaign within the University of Strathclyde. Transform Scotland will be hosting a series of informational stalls (pictured below) and focus groups over the next few months to help promote bus awareness and use in Glasgow.