Accelerating economic recovery and laying the groundwork for an inclusive, greener transport network will be at the heart of future transport investment in Scotland, Transport Scotland has announced.
These priorities underpin the Scottish Government’s 2021-22 Draft Budget, which was set out last week and commits to deliver a clean, efficient and connected transport network with investment of £3.2 billion, including £1.6 billion for rail and bus services and £100.5 million for active travel.
The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) will help to deliver the vision, priorities and outcomes for transport set out in the National Transport Strategy (NTS2).
Phase One has been published and focuses on priority transport projects in the short-term (two to three years) and together with the conclusion of Phase Two this autumn, will set out the Scottish Government’s investment priorities for the next 20 years.
Phase One recommendations for national investment priorities in the short-term include:
- Supporting smart and sustainable travel across Scotland, with the development of active freeways and the expansion of 20mph zones.
- Improving public transport, with reallocation of road space for buses and improved accessibility at train stations.
- Supporting the transition to low carbon transport, with investment in alternative fuels and progression of decarbonisation of rail.
- Enabling larger loads to be carried by the railway network, encouraging freight to shift from road to rail transport.
Other recommendations include the reasoning for investment in the Glasgow Metro, a new mass transit system for Scotland’s largest urban area and improved resilience of the trunk road network at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll.
Commenting, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP said: “As we continue to navigate our way through an unprecedented global health emergency, the investment decisions we make have never been so important. We want to lock in the changes to the healthy, green travel options we’ve seen during the pandemic, while supporting interventions that will aid and help accelerate economic recovery.
“We are conducting a thorough, evidence-based review of the performance of Scotland’s strategic transport network across active travel, bus, ferry, rail and the trunk road network and my thanks go to everyone who is engaged in that process, particularly our Regional Transport Working Groups.”
Deputy CEO of walking and cycling charity Sustrans and Executive Director for Scotland, John Lauder said: “Sustrans Scotland welcomes the recognition of the importance of active travel in STPR2. The continued commitment of £100m annually for the next five years provides continuity to build on well-established partnership programmes with local authorities and other statutory bodies to enable sustained planning of high-quality infrastructure.
“The evidence and expertise to make Scotland’s transport greener, healthier and fairer is all there. The time to act is now.”