Transforming Transport Investment in Scotland

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The Scottish Government has published its blueprint for future transport investment.

The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) makes 45 recommendations under six key themes which seek to make transport in Scotland more sustainable and support people to make better, more informed choices on how they travel.

When implemented, the changes and measures will play a key role in helping to make the country fairer and greener – by tackling tackle climate change, reducing inequalities and improving our health and wellbeing.

The recommendations include:

  • Mass transit in our biggest city regions of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen: Clyde Metro represents a multi-billion investment which, when complete, could better connect over 1.5 million people to employment, education and health services in and around the Glasgow city region. Plans for Edinburgh & South East Scotland Mass Transit and Aberdeen Rapid Transit will also be developed.
  • Rural transport and island communities: Continuing investment in ferry renewals, improving port infrastructure and connections from ferry terminals to other types of public transport to reduce car reliance, enhancing island connectivity and making safety improvements on rural trunk roads where accident rates and severities are typically higher.
  • Decarbonisation of public transport: Transport is Scotland’s biggest carbon emitter and the recommendations emphasise decarbonisation and behaviour change for ferries, rail and buses as well as increasing the shift to zero emission vehicles.
  • Improving active travel infrastructure: encouraging more people to walk, wheel and cycle more often; cutting carbon emissions and improving health and wellbeing, particularly of children, while supporting sustainable economic growth.
  • Transforming freight: developing a net zero freight and logistics network for Scotland that would encourage the switch from road to rail or water and reduce the overall distance travelled, including a review of rail freight terminals/ hubs.

These investments will help reduce overall demand for private vehicles; improve accessibility to employment, education, healthcare and leisure amenities; and strengthen strategic transport connections to, from and within rural areas, as well as across the UK.

– Graeme

STPR2 has the potential to shape the places we live in, how we travel, where we live and crucially how we decarbonise transport over the next decade and beyond.

The recommendations laid out today support the measures I set out in Parliament last week. It will work cohesively with Transport Scotland’s route map to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030 and highlights the Scottish Government’s commitment to making the whole country more sustainable.

These investment decisions have never been more important. The pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in travel behaviours and we want to ensure that people continue to make sustainable travel choices, that they return to public transport and our economic recovery does not overly rely on road-based travel.

This review marks a major step forward in the Government’s commitment to creating a modern, sustainable, integrated public transport system for Scotland. The focus is firmly on how transport can help us protect our climate and improve lives. It takes a balanced and fair approach to all modes of transport, and all areas of Scotland.

The recommendations set out in STPR2 will  now go out for consultation and I urge everyone to share their views to help shape our transport system that promotes Scotland’s sustainable future.

– Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway

I’m encouraged that today’s report recognises the major role rail will play in moving people and goods sustainably as we move towards a net zero Scotland. At Scotland’s Railway we are keenly focused on a number of clearly defined targets to achieve the Scottish Government’s net zero ambitions and we’ve already delivered a 38% overall reduction in carbon emissions in the last eight years.

Looking ahead, the financial picture is of course challenging but it’s great to see STPR2 support the potential for even more rail passengers and freight being transported by rail.