Reducing car use for a healthier, fairer and greener Scotland

The Scottish Government has published its route map outlining steps needed to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030.

The world-leading target was set out in the Climate Change Plan Update (CCPu), published in December 2020.

The route map sets out a range of sustainable travel behaviours grouped into four categories:

  • travel less: use online options where appropriate
  • stay local: chose a more local destination to meet your needs
  • switch mode: to walk, wheel, cycle, or use public transport where possible
  • combine a journey: where the other options are not feasible

Additionally, research will be commissioned to explore equitable options for demand management to discourage car use, to enable the development of a new Framework for Car Demand Management by 2025.

The route map has been developed by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and will now be the subject of a 12-week public consultation.

Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said:

“We know that we need to take bold action to tackle the climate emergency and this world-leading commitment makes the scale of our ambition clear.

“We cannot reach net-zero emissions through technological solutions alone so we need individuals, communities and businesses in all parts of Scotland to look at their own habits and behaviours and think about how they could make changes. We don’t expect car use to drop at the same rate in urban and rural areas and the route map makes clear that there’s no one size fits all approach.

“The principle of a just transition is at the heart of our route map, supporting our work to tackle inequality and child poverty. We recognise that for some people reducing car use, especially in the short-term, will be more challenging – including disabled people and their families – but we also need to recognise the unfairness of a status quo where the ‘car is king’ and where car use is made too easy, at the expense of other healthier, fairer options.

“We’re setting out a whole range of actions, some in the short term – like free bus travel for under-22s, Low Emission Zones and providing superfast broadband for 100% of premises – and some longer term, including our work on demand management options including pricing and the cost of motoring. What’s absolutely crucial is that we all play our part and consider how we can modify our own behaviour and drive down car use for a healthier, fairer, greener future.”

Councillor Steven Heddle, COSLA’s Environment and Economy Spokesperson, said:  

“I am delighted that COSLA has developed the draft route map in partnership with Scottish Government. The evidence which underpins the route map is clear: our current level of car use is unsustainable and incompatible with our climate targets. Put simply, if we do not make urgent, deep cuts in transport emissions in the next few years we will miss our national targets and the opportunity presented by COP26 for Scotland to show global leadership  

“The purpose of the route map is to help us find fair and sustainable ways to reduce car use wherever possible, recognising that some car journeys will continue to be essential.  

“We are also clear that different places and communities will need different solutions. This is where Local Government can help make a difference, with local, targeted action which is supported by the right investment and expertise.  Local Government will also be critical at bringing together policies, ideas and data at the local and regional level to support delivery. We, therefore, firmly view the route map as being a key part of our joint work with Scottish Government on delivering a Just Transition to a Net Zero Economy.

“I very much look forward to working with the Scottish Government and other partners to support the delivery of this target, as part of our collective efforts to achieve net zero by 2045.” 

Published 13 Jan 2022 Tags