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May 4, 2016

Breaking the link

The path of least resistance is a maxim that could be used to describe many of the habits we embrace as part of modern living. We take the shortest, quickest or cheapest route in pursuit of many of our daily goals. And that inevitably has consequences for the many more alternative routes that we choose to eschew.  When the Forth Road Bridge was closed to traffic last year, it forced a sudden reappraisal of the alternatives  for the many thousands of regular users. Carnegie took advantage of this transport ‘crisis’ to examine some of the hidden impacts.

Carnegie UK


The Carnegie UK Trust has today published a new report which reveals that residents in Fife rely heavily on the Forth Road Bridge for employment, leisure and social activity, raising questions about the investment needed in local towns to make them more attractive and resilient places to meet the modern needs of residents.

The closure of Forth Road Bridge in December 2015 was a significant disruption to Fife’s transport infrastructure, causing residents to seek alternative modes and routes of transport to pursue their economic and social activities.

The Carnegie UK Trust commissioned a representative poll of 500 residents in Fife, conducted an online survey with 63 Fife-based businesses, and collected other data sources to determine the impact of the Forth Road Bridge closure on how residents in Fife worked, travelled, consumed goods and services, and pursued leisure activities during this period, and the impact on local businesses as traders and employers.

The report published today demonstrates that respondents overwhelmingly used a different or longer route to work or to take part in leisure activities during the closure, rather than changing work patterns or avoiding travel. Residents polled were more willing to change their shopping behaviour, however, and use a local store as an alternative.


Residents reported strong satisfaction with their neighbourhoods in Fife. Taken together with their belief that the area might be over-dependent on the Forth Road Bridge, this suggests that there could be an opportunity for more innovative approaches to creating employment and leisure opportunities more locally as part of building a fairer Fife.