The Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) is pleased to contribute to this consultation. MACS is a statutory advisor to Scottish Ministers on all aspects of travel and mobility for disabled people. Please see appendix and our website for more details.
‘Reducing inequalities’ is rightly a prominent theme of the National Outcomes. However, tackling the inequalities regarding travel and mobility is not well reflected in the National Performance Framework (NPF) at present. We suggest that this is rectified in the next iteration of the NPF indicators.
An overarching theme of the Scottish Government is the ‘just transition’ to a low-carbon economy and society. This theme is rightly prominent in several indicators measures included in the NPF, and in Scotland’s 2020 National Transport Strategy 2.
However, there appears to be no systematic way at present of measuring progress in delivering the goal of ‘reducing inequalities’, the first strategic pillar of NTS2.
We know that disabled people do not experience the same travel choices as non-disabled people and that disabled people travel less often, and travel less far, than people who aren’t disabled. This is evidenced by a whole host of data sources, including the Transport Scotland publication ’Disability and Transport’.
Transport Scotland has committed to publishing this report annually and the next version is expected in June 2023. (A report was not produced in 2022 owing to problems with data associated with the COVID-19 pandemic).
MACS uses the term ‘Closing the Mobility Gap’ to describe the aspiration of reducing the inequality that disabled people face in travel. We would like to see a new longitudinal indicator added to the suite of 81 NPF indicators which enables progress in closing this mobility gap to be recorded. As the data for Disability and Transport is sourced from the Scottish Household Survey, we believe that this should not present any significant technical challenges and could therefore be introduced quickly.
We would like to emphasise that disabled people’s mobility should not be seen merely as a transport indicator. Mobility is a vital enabler for disabled people to contribute to every aspect of Scotland’s social, cultural, and economic life. Our position being that transport is an enabler of human rights and must be ‘Available, Accessible and Affordable’.
We hope that this suggestion will be adopted. We would of course be pleased to engage further with the Scottish Government over this proposal.