Fifers change travel arrangements following bridge closure

The Forth Road Bridge was closed late last year
The Forth Road Bridge was closed late last year

Commuters in Fife could be changing their travelling patterns permanently, academics have predicted.

Research into the three-week closure of the Forth Road Bridge last December found a small but significant proportion of commuters changed the way they travelled after the shutdown.

The University of Glasgow study said that commuters travelled to work on one in eight fewer days during the bridge closure, and others changed their time of travel.

A poll of nearly 1000 commuters found that more than one in 12 were likely to travel less frequently, with one in 14 planning to change the way they travelled.

The sudden closure of the bridge – which carries almost 70,000 vehicles a day – because of a structural fault increased Fife to Edinburgh journeys by 30-40 minutes via the Kincardine Bridge.

The findings showed that out of pocket costs were higher for 84 per cent of commuters.

This, in part, contributed to a greater number of people working from home more often where that was an option.

There was a 12 per cent reduction in the number of days people travelled to work overall and although this was slightly higher in car users, it was seen in all modes of transport.

For the survey, specific postal codes in Fife were targeted that were thought to have a greater likelihood of being affected by the disruption.

Professor Greg Marsden, one of the study’s authors, warned: “There will be more major transport disruptions in the years ahead,” after recent National Flood Resilience Review suggested that more threats to key infrastructure can be expected.

“The key responses are to reduce the amount of travel that needs to happen by stretching tolerance to more flexible and remote working, and to provide better information about when best to travel and what to expect.

A spokesman for the Transport Scotland said: “Encouraging behaviour change and flexibility is a part of any successful response to disruptive events. Significant events like the bridge closure, or more positive ones like the Commonwealth Games, prompt people to rethink their journeys. We encourage all commuters to plan ahead.”