Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park: Journey Planner app milestone
An app trialled to encourage visitors to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park to ditch the car and plan more sustainable journeys has hit 10,000. travel during a year.
The Journey Planner pilot scheme was launched to help day trippers plan their journey and encourage them to use alternative options such as public transport and cycling where practical.
Developed with regional transport partnership Tactran, the trial has seen more than 7,500 people use the app in its first year and more than 10,000 journeys planned. In a recent survey, 52 percent of users said that using the app had made them more likely to use public transport, walk or cycle instead of driving.
Scotland’s first national park attracts around four million visitors each year, 79 per cent of whom use their car to travel to and around the park.
Kenny Auld, Head of Visitor Services at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, said: “We know that the vast majority of visitors to the National Park arrive by car and that has implications not only for the climate but also for the pressure on local roads and local communities.
“Despite known limitations across the sustainable transport network, engagement with the app from visitors has exceeded our expectations. There is clear demand from visitors for alternatives to car travel and this is something we are keen to develop further.
“There is a long way to go in terms of improving public and active transport options in rural areas such as the National Park, but the Journey Planner pilot has improved our understanding of the opportunities and challenges in this area and will inform long-term planning about sustainable travel.”
Scotland’s Climate Change Plan 2020 set a commitment to reduce car kilometers by 20 per cent by 2030.
Jenny Gilruth MSP, Minister for Transport, said: “We want to help Scotland become an international leader in smart mobility and our Mobility as a Service (MaaS) investment fund projects are helping to unlock this potential for innovation, so I’m delighted to see how well the National Park Journey Planner is being used.
“MaaS has the potential to transform the way we use transport by making public and shared transport options such as bus and train as attractive as using our car, all helping to create a healthier and more sustainable Scotland. It’s only through testing and widespread use that we can see how effective this technology is, so I would encourage everyone to download the app and try it out.”
The National Park Journey Planner app gives visitors a wider range of travel options in one place, making it easier to research, plan and book a day trip. It allows visitors to explore sights and check and compare the carbon impact of different modes of travel.
Although not all areas of the national park are currently accessible by public transport, there are alternatives to car travel for some of the most popular parts of the park.
The pilot is being used to gather valuable feedback and data on the demand for more transport services, to inform longer-term sustainable travel planning.
It is one of several projects underway as the National Park Authority considers short-term and long-term measures to encourage low-emission travel. The potential for a shuttle bus to run during peak visitor season is being investigated and a detailed study is underway looking at current travel patterns and volumes across the national park and the possibilities of moving to a less car dependent system.
Regional Transport Partnership Tactran is working with partners across Tayside and Central Scotland to develop online journey planning tools and apps as part of their ENABLE programme. As well as Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Tactran is also working with Dundee and Angus College and NHS Tayside on online travel tools.
Tactran Chair, Councilor Andrew Parrott said: “I am delighted to be working with Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority on the ongoing success of the Tactran ENABLE project.
“We hope that this exemplary work can be built on to improve sustainable access for other organizations across the Tactran region.”
The National Park Journey Planner can be downloaded for Apple devices via the App Store or via the Play Store for Android devices. It is also available as an online app on the national park’s website.