Transport Scotland has said it will develop an Edinburgh & South East Scotland Mass Transit and an Aberdeen Rapid Transit, as well as the multi-billion pound Clyde Metro in Glasgow, as it plans for a cleaner and better connected future.
It has just published its second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2), which contains 45 recommendations to make the nation’s transport more sustainable and to support residents to make more informed choices on how they travel.
Improved transit systems in the country’s biggest city regions is a key move.
There will be improvements to connectivity in Glasgow through the creation of the multi-billion pound Clyde Metro, connecting it to the surrounding areas of East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire. Transport Scotland is yet to determine what this may look like, but the STPR2 says it may include one or more of bus rapid transit, tram, light rail and/or metro rail. This would integrate with the current bus and heavy rail networks.
The STPR2 also proposes the development of an Edinburgh Mass Transit system, integrating bus rapid transit and trams with the current bus, tram and heavy rail networks. The City of Edinburgh Council is leading a study into how to deliver the scheme, with the initial focus being on mass transit connectivity from Granton in the north of the city down through the centre and to the south and east extremities.
The proposed Rapid Transit system for Aberdeen would be a bus based system to provide more competitive and efficient public transport into and around the Aberdeen City region. It would focus on key corridors of demand and the areas where congestion impacts on current bus services.
The STPR2’s other recommendations for future transport investments include:
Support rural and island communities by continuing investment in ferry renewals, improving port infrastructures and connections from ferry terminals
Decarbonise public transport; increasing the shift to zero emission vehicles
Encourage more people to walk, wheel and cycle more often
Develop a net zero freight and logistics network
Development and delivery of “active freeways” – high quality arterial active travel corridors providing sustainable transport infrastructure between settlements and major trip attractors
Expansion of 20mph zones
Reallocate road space away from private cars and towards active travel; create high-quality urban environments to create better places by enhancing the attractiveness of towns and villages
Create guidance and framework for delivering “mobility hubs” – recognisable places with an offer of different and connected transport modes supplemented with enhanced facilities and information features to both attract and benefit the traveller
Investment in pilot schemes for demand responsive transport
Enhance facilities at major rail stations to make them more efficient and effective for public use, embracing active travel solutions
Reallocate road space for buses
Infrastructure to provide access for all at rail stations
Investment in low-carbon and alternative fuel systems
Delivery of rail decarbonisation programme
Strategy for improving rest and welfare facilities for hauliers
Investment in the strategic road network asset
Access to Argyll and Bute other than the A83
Speed management plan
Scotland cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport Michael Matheson said: “The investment decisions we make now have never been more important. A green recovery from Covid-19 will set us on a path to delivering a fair and just transition to net zero. 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.
“The STPR2 recommendations support the measures set out last week in our route map to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030 and represent a major piece of 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 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 help deliver the four priorities of our National Transport Strategy - reducing inequalities; taking climate action; helping deliver inclusive economic growth; and improving our health and wellbeing. They’ll now go out for consultation and I urge individuals, community groups, businesses and public and third sector organisations to share their views with us so that together we can shape a transport system fit for a healthy, fair and green future.”
Glasgow City Council leader and Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet chair Susan Aitken said: “Today’s announcement marks a major step forward in our commitment to creating a modern, sustainable, integrated public transport system for the city of Glasgow and its surrounding metropolitan region. 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 in advancing the concept and the compelling case for it.
“Metro will be transformational - reducing social and economic inequalities, delivering on economic growth, better connecting outlying and poorly served communities and incentivising large-scale modal shift from private car to public transport.
“Over the past several decades, modern rapid transit systems like Metro are what Glasgow’s comparator cities across the globe have been busy constructing. We cannot continue to be left behind. More than arguably any other single intervention, Clyde Metro can help deliver a vibrant, prosperous, inclusive and sustainable city region, a transport system fit for our international standing and ambitions.”
Scotland’s Railway managing director Alex Hynes said: “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.”