Contact Us
Climate Action
Click here to go to the Strategy Hub

Supporting sustainable transport to museums


Visitor travel to your museum counts towards the overall carbon footprint of the organisation. While car travel will remain substantially higher in rural areas, where public transport is not always widely available, this guide highlights groups and ways that can help your visitors make more sustainable transport choices when journeying to museums. 

Highlight public transport options 

Hosting public transport information on your website with routes and timetables, so visitors can plan their trip by public transport is a simple step museums can take.

An example of public transport information includes the “Getting Here” section on the Cateran Ecomuseum website. Their website hosts links to the Scotrail, Stagecoach, and Ember bus timetable. Then there are directions on how to visit the museum from nearby towns, villages and cities by active travel and public transport. This allows visitors to make the choice for themselves with up to date and accurate information, instead of automatically being given directions for car travel. Whilst these options will not be suitable for all museums or all visitors, it will be useful for some and can help to reduce your museum’s carbon footprint. 

Even something as simple as moving active travel and public transport information above the carpark information on your website can have a positive impact on visitor behaviour.

Scottish Association for Public Transport 

This Scottish Association for Public Transport are an organisation campaigning for an efficient, sustainable, and coordinated public transport. They advocate and work with transport authorities and government to improve public transport in Scotland, including trains, buses, trams, and ferries. Their areas of focus include: 

  • An efficient world-class transport system for Scotland 
  • Sustainable public transport for rural and urban communities 
  • City streets free from road traffic pollution and congestion 
  • Co-ordinated train, bus, and ferry services 
  • High Speed Rail for Scottish InterCity and Anglo-Scottish routes 

This group may be useful if you want to become more involved in creating better and more sustainable public transport in Scotland. Membership to this group grants access to: 

  • A quarterly newsletter “Scottish Transport Matters” 
  • Invitations to events and the AGM 

Further information can be found on the Scottish Association for Public Transport website.

Become a cycle friendly museum

Cycling has experienced a boom over the last five years. With a broader range of people cycling, museums can encourage cyclists to visit their venues by being more cyclist friendly.

Provide secure cycle parking for a range of different bicycle users

The kind of cycle parking you provide can either encourage or put off visitors from cycling to your museum. Good facilities that secure the bicycle and protect it from damage are key. Place your cycle parking near your entrance, in public view to discourage opportunistic theft. Having some basic shelter over bicycle stands is also a bonus, particularly in the wet Scottish climate.

Providing secure bike stands, such as Sheffield stands, allow visitors to securely lock their bicycle frames to a fixed point without bending or damaging wheels. While Sheffield stands are easy to install and maintain, it’s important to ensure that they are concreted into the ground and not simply fixed with bolts. Bolts can be easily removed with basic tools which allows thieves to remove the stand, and steal a bike without breaking a lock.

Having a range of secure cycle parking that meets different bicycle types is another way to be accessible to a broader range of cyclists. Large family cargo bicycles have become more popular, but are much wider than a traditional bicycle. Tricycles and recumbent bikes are also used by a variety of people with additional mobility needs. Try to have enough space in-between stands to accommodate wider or longer bicycle types. The equivalent of one car parking space can provide 6 – 12 spaces for traditional upright bicycles.

Access funding to improve nearby cycle routes

A weak link in your local cycling infrastructure can prevent visitors from choosing to cycle. Check final junctions on approach to your museum and/or whether a short extension to a designated cycle route could bring visitors to your door. This is especially important for 12-18 year olds, who are building independence but can’t drive yet. The Cycling Friendly Community Development Fund can provide up to £25k towards cycling improvements. Becoming involved with local community transport infrastructure campaigns gives an opportunity to understand the barriers potential visitors may face, both on foot or by bicycle.

Signpost routes and museum facilities

You can update the visitor information on your website to prioritise getting to the museum by bicycle. Easy, accessible information on sustainable transport options challenges perceptions and breaks down barriers to access. Letting cycle visitors know ahead of their visit about facilities like secure cycle parking, cafe/rest or picnic area also provides a welcoming experience.  Cyclists may need a chance to rest, eat and drink before they visit the museum. Knowing they can get a cup of tea and a cake at the end of a ride is a key selling point for most cyclists.

Good Journey

Good Journey is a platform which champions car-free leisure travel and features over 200 culture, leisure, and nature attractions that the public can reach without a car. The non-profit company launched in 2018 as part of a coalition of transport and conservation organisations.

Registering with Good Journey adds your organisation to their database. This gives visitors information and route planning on how to get there without a car and, sometimes with discounted entry prices for arriving car free.

While an organisation such as Good Journey can’t cancel out issues like lack of public transport infrastructure in rural locations, it may give advice to your organisation and to potential visitors who may not have previously considered visiting.

Good Journey state 5 main reasons to join the scheme:

  • Potential to attract new visitors
  • Cut your carbon footprint
  • Increase income- car-free visitors spend around 20% more
  • Reduce car-park congestion
  • Meet your sustainability goals

The direct benefits Good Journey offer as part of membership include:

  • Easy directions for car-free visitors
  • Door to door journey planner
  • Display the Good Journey Mark
  • Health-check of your travel information
  • Help to increase car-free visitors
  • Promotion in their marketing
  • Expert advice on green travel

Subscription to this scheme is charged depending on the number of visitors your organisation attracts annually and is charged annually.

Further information can be found on the Good Journey website.

Sustrans Scotland

Sustrans are a UK wide charity which aims to make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle rather than use fossil fuel powered vehicles. Sustrans Scotland provides advice, support, and funding that to make it easier to improve accessibility of walking, wheeling and cycling for everyday journeys in Scotland. They work with both organisations and communities to support and help to deliver projects. Examples include: developing active travel (walking, wheeling and cycling) infrastructure, starting cycling or walking/wheeling groups, training, place-based projects, education, and protecting nature.

Within Scotland, their work has focused on:

  • Place based funding
  • The National Cycle Network in Scotland
  • Policy engagement
  • Street Design
  • School transport
  • Active workplaces
  • Partnership working
  • Active communities

The Communities Team in Scotland supports locally based community groups and organisations, including museums, to develop and run programmes encouraging people to walk, wheel or cycle more.

Further information can be found on the Sustrans website.