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National Transport Strategy

The National Transport Strategy (NTS) sets the long term vision for our transport policies. It was first published in 2006 after the Scottish Government consulted the public, interested individuals and a wide range of organisations on their views for the future of transport in Scotland.

Review of the National Transport Strategy

The NTS was refreshed in 2016 and recommended a fuller, collaborative review of the NTS in the next Scottish Parliamentary term. The Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP, subsequently announced the inception of this full review of the NTS on Monday 22 August 2016. 

The review of the NTS will set out an updated vision for what kind of transport we want for the whole of Scotland in 20 years’ time and how we plan to get there. It will look at how we can successfully address the strategic challenges facing our transport network and how we can take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.  It will also inform the review of the Strategic Transport Project Review (STPR2) by providing a clearly defined set of strategic transport objectives.

Transport Scotland is committed to delivering a collaborative review of the NTS, by giving stakeholders and communities across Scotland a greater say in influencing the development of transport policy at a local, regional and national level. 

Early engagement survey

As such, we are keen to gather your views at an early stage to shape what should be the key themes of the NTS review and have prepared a short online survey to collect responses to the following questions regarding transport and the National Transport Strategy:

  • Have you used, or referred to, the 2006 National Transport Strategy (NTS)? 
  • The current strategy sets out the three key strategic outcomes of improved journey times and connections; reduced emissions; and improved quality, accessibility and affordability. Do you think each of these will still be relevant over the next 20 years?
  • If there was one thing that needs to change substantially now in transport, what would that be?
  • What do you think are the main transport challenges and opportunities over the next 20 years?
  • How would you like us to engage with you during the development of the future strategy that will lead to a formal public consultation?

You will have until 31 March 2017 to respond: Access the NTS Early Engagement Survey

In addition to the survey a Research and Evidence Working Group is being established which will put out a call for evidence in the New Year as part of the early engagement activity associated with the NTS review.  The call for evidence will inform the NTS review by building on our current evidence base and identifying any gaps in our knowledge.

We will then build on these early engagement activities from Summer 2017 onwards with a wide programme of in-depth engagement,  including stakeholder events and online/digital channels, which will culminate with a public consultation.

If you wish to submit any thoughts in the meantime, or request a hard copy of the survey, please contact us at:

Why do we need a National Transport Strategy?

Under Scotland's Economic Strategy, the Scottish Government's overall purpose is to increase sustainable economic growth. A safe, efficient, effective and sustainable transport system, for both passengers and freight, remains one of the key enablers of such sustainable economic growth. It supports businesses in achieving their local, national and international objectives and improves the lives of individuals and communities by connecting them with their economic future.

The National Transport Strategy provides the framework for enhancing our transport system, in response to the main transport challenges that Scotland faces, which in turn contributes to improvement in our economic, environmental and social performance. In particular, the three Key Strategic Outcomes continue to be used as the guiding principles at national, regional and local level when developing strategy and prioritising resources.

What does the National Transport Strategy do?

The NTS introduced three key strategic outcomes, which are :

  • Improved journey times and connections between our cities and towns and our global markets to tackle congestion and lack of integration and connections in transport
  • Reduced emissions to tackle climate change, air quality, health improvement
  • Improved quality, accessibility and affordability of transport, to give choice of public transport, better quality services and value for money, or alternative to car

These outcomes feed directly into the five Strategic Objectives, providing a basis on which to develop policies, decide how to invest resources to maximum effect, and measure the effect of our work.
Links to the refreshed NTS and its supporting documents can be found below:

Delivery plan

The NTS Delivery Plan is a working document that sets out all of the planned actions we are taking within the context of the National Performance Framework to support the Purpose of the Scottish Government.
The Delivery Plan is periodically updated to reflect significant developments and track progress against planned actions towards delivering transport-related National Outcomes and meeting the objectives of the National Transport Strategy.

A full version of the latest NTS Delivery Plan is available. A table of Delivery Against 2006 NTS Commitments has been published alongside the “refreshed” NTS.

Carbon Account for Transport (CAT)

The Carbon Account for Transport meets a commitment contained in the published National Transport Strategy.

It helps us to take decisions and develop actions to meet the targets in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, by providing a structure for monitoring and reviewing our progress towards achieving the 'reduced emissions' Strategic Outcome for transport.

It does this by presenting, in one place, assessments of all Scottish Government transport policies and projects that are expected to have significant positive or negative impacts on overall carbon emissions. A full version of the Carbon Account for Transport is available.

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