Scottish government publishes plan for future transport investment

Public transport schemes for Scotland’s three largest cities and plans to connect the country’s islands with tunnels are among flagship transport plans being prepared for Scottish Government investment, a new document has revealed.

Indicative designs for Clyde Metro

the second review of strategic transport projects (STPR2) makes 45 recommendations under six key themes that aim to make transport in Scotland more sustainable and help people make smarter and more informed choices about how they travel.

Once implemented, the government said the changes and measures will play a key role in helping to make the country fairer and greener – tackling climate change, reducing inequality and improving health and The well-being.

Recommendations include:

  • Public transport in the urban areas of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen: Clyde Metro is a multi-billion investment which, when completed, could better connect over 1.5 million people to employment, education and health services in and around the Glasgow metropolitan area. Plans for Edinburgh and South East Scotland public transport and Aberdeen rapid transit will also be drawn up.
  • Rural transport and island communities: Continued investment in the renewal of ferries, the improvement of port infrastructure and connections between ferry terminals and other types of public transport in order to reduce dependence on the car, improving the connectivity of the islands and improving safety on rural trunk roads where accident rates and severity are generally higher.
  • Decarbonization of public transport: Transport is Scotland’s biggest carbon emitter and the recommendations focus on decarbonisation and behavioral change for ferries, trains and buses, as well as increasing the shift to zero vehicles episode.
  • Improved active travel infrastructure: encourage more people to walk, ride and cycle more often; reduce carbon emissions and improve health and well-being, especially of children, while supporting sustainable economic growth.
  • Transform freight: the development of a net zero freight and logistics network for Scotland that would encourage a shift from road to rail or water and reduce total distance travelled, including a review of rail freight terminals/hubs.

Net Zero, Energy and Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson said the investments will help reduce overall demand for private vehicles; improve accessibility to employment, education, health care and leisure; and strengthening strategic transport links to, from and within rural areas, as well as across the UK.

Mr. Matheson said: “The investment decisions we are making now have never been more important. A green recovery from COVID-19 will put us on the path to a just and fair transition to Net Zero. The pandemic has caused fundamental shifts in travel behaviors and we want to ensure that people continue to make sustainable travel choices, return to public transport and that our economic recovery does not rely too heavily on road travel. .

“The STPR2 recommendations support the measures set out last week in our roadmap to reduce car miles by 20% by 2030 and represent major work by this government to make Scotland – all of Scotland – more sustainable.

“This review represents a repositioning of our transport investment priorities – the focus is on how transport can help us protect our climate and improve lives. It takes a balanced and fair approach for all modes of transport and all regions of Scotland.

“The recommendations set out in STPR2 will help achieve the four priorities of our national transportation strategy – reducing inequalities; act for the climate; contribute to inclusive economic growth; and improve our health and well-being. They will now go out for consultation and I urge individuals, community groups, businesses, and public and third sector organizations to share their views with us so that together we can shape a transportation system suitable for a healthy, equitable, and green future.

Cllr Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet, said: “Today’s announcement marks a major step forward in our commitment to creating a modern, sustainable and affordable public transport system. integrated for the city of Glasgow and its surrounding metropolitan area. Clyde Metro’s inclusion in the STPR2 report is a huge vote of confidence in the work done to date by Transport Scotland and the City Council to push the concept and the compelling case for it forward.

“The metro will be transformational: it will reduce social and economic inequalities, promote economic growth, better connect peripheral and underserved communities and encourage a large-scale modal shift from the private car to public transport.

“Over the past few decades, modern rapid transit systems like Metro are what Glasgow-comparable cities around the world have been busy building. We cannot continue to be left behind. More than any other single intervention, Clyde Metro can help create a vibrant, prosperous, inclusive and sustainable urban region, a transport system suited to our position and our international ambitions.

Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, added: “I am encouraged that today’s report recognizes the major role that rail will play in the sustainable transport of people and goods as we move towards a clean Scotland. zero. At Scotland’s Railway we are focused on a number of clearly defined targets to achieve the Scottish Government’s net zero ambitions and have already achieved an overall 38% reduction in carbon emissions over the past eight years.

“Looking ahead, the financial situation is of course difficult, but it’s great to see STPR2 supporting the potential of even more rail passengers and freight transported by rail.”

Karen McGregor, Director of Capital Programs for Sustrans Scotland, said: “STPR2 has the potential to shape where we live, how we travel, where we live and most importantly how we decarbonize our transport over the next decade and beyond. Therefore, Sustrans welcomes the prioritization of sustainable and low-carbon forms of transport in the emerging set of interventions identified here.

“In particular, we welcome the recognition of the strategic role that walking, wheeling and cycling can play in achieving Scottish Government goals. It helps demonstrate the step change in mindset needed to meaningfully tackle climate change, improve Scotland’s health and wellbeing, reduce inequality and deliver sustainable economic growth.