National Transport Strategy

Protecting our climate and improving lives.

Our vision is for a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system helping deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors.

Our Vision

The National Transport Strategy (NTS) sets out the role of transport in delivering the priorities of reducing inequalities and taking climate action while helping deliver inclusive economic growth and improving health and wellbeing.

The NTS is for all of Scotland, recognising the different needs of our cities, towns, remote and rural areas and islands. It considers why we travel and how those trips are made, by including walking, wheeling, cycling, and travelling by bus, train, ferry, car, lorry and aeroplane.

At the heart of the NTS is the recognition that we need to deliver a step-change in behaviour and provide attractive, affordable, accessible and sustainable travel options.

Launching the second NTS Delivery Plan on 8 June 2022, Minister for Transport, Jenny Gilruth said:

Our aim is to continue to work across the country to build and grow a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system, helping to deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland.
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First Delivery Plan: 2020 to 2022

The first NTS Delivery Plan, published on 17 December 2020, set out the actions being taken across the Scottish Government to achieve the NTS vision, priorities and outcomes for 2020 to 2022.

The Plan was published amidst the uncertainty surrounding the longer term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, however our focus remained on the priorities underpinning our vision, to deliver a transport system that reduces inequality, that takes climate action, helps deliver inclusive economic growth, and improves our health and wellbeing.

This remains central to our ongoing recovery and we focused this first Delivery Plan on addressing the impacts of COVID-19 as a core component of taking forward our longer term strategy.

Second Delivery Plan: 2022 to 2023

Two years since the publication of our National Transport Strategy (NTS) and our first NTS Delivery Plan, we continue to make progress across the Scottish Government in delivering on our vision and strategic priorities.

The second NTS Delivery Plan, published on 8 June 2022, sets out the actions being taken across the Scottish Government to deliver our vision, priorities and outcomes from 2022 to 2023.

Our aim is to ensure access to affordable, accessible and sustainable transport across the country. We know that the challenges ahead are significant, and that reducing private car use and transitioning to more walking, wheeling or cycling for day-to-day journeys will pose greater challenges for some. However, our actions aim to seize on the opportunities offered as we journey to net-zero and support the necessary changes to provide for safer, healthier and more enjoyable streets, businesses, neighbourhoods and journeys. 

Evaluating our Progress

The key to understanding and evaluating the progress of the NTS over the short, medium and long term is to routinely monitor and report on progress towards its outcomes.

To support this outcome, we published our detailed strategy for Monitoring and Evaluating the impacts of the NTS in August 2021. We continue to monitor and evaluate a number of indicators that span the four primary goals of the strategy.

The indicators range from transport emissions to the proportion of short journeys made by active travel to transport related casualties, among many others. Where possible, these indicators are broken down and analysed by demographic and geographic variables to demonstrate how experiences of transport vary across society and to ensure that interventions are measured in terms of their impact on all people in Scotland. 

The first publication in this series is the Monitoring and Evaluation baseline report, published on 8 June 2022. This collates and summarises the data underpinning the primary and secondary indicators (where data is available) to establish a baseline against which progress can be monitored. In most cases, this involves an analysis of data from 2019 to provide a suitable ‘pre-pandemic’ baseline.

Engagement and Consultation

Successful delivery of our vision cannot be achieved through Government alone. The NTS and its Delivery Plans draw on the latest evidence and were developed using a collaborative approach involving a wide range of partners. For future Plans and the delivery of the NTS we intend to continue this positive engagement with a wide range of individuals, businesses and third sector organisations.

A consultation on the draft Strategy was published on 5 February 2020, with views invited from across Scotland. The responses played a key role in informing the content of the Strategy.

NTS Delivery Board

The NTS Delivery Board is co-chaired by Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth MSP and Coalition of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA). It brings together senior representatives across the transport sector to be accountable for the successful delivery of NTS.

This includes Regional Transport Partnerships, which must produce Regional Transport Strategies aligned with NTS and Local Authorities.

Board Member Organisations

  • Jenny Gilruth MSP, Minister for Transport (Co-Chair)
  • Coalition of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) (Co-Chair)
  • Regional Transport Partnerships (Lead Officer Member): SPT
  • Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE)
  • Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS)
  • Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers (ATCO)


NTS Forum

In 2021 we established the NTS Forum to support the continued delivery of the NTS. The Forum consists of three groups:

  • the Peoples’ Panel
  • the Business Group, and
  • the Cross-Government Steering Group

The Forum collectively provides the overarching engagement platform, bringing together stakeholders to discuss the future of the transport system in Scotland and the four NTS priorities.

NTS Forum: Peoples' Panel

The NTS Peoples’ Panel brought together individuals from across Scotland and supported the delivery of the second National Transport Strategy (NTS). The Panel was set up to consider issues highlighted in the NTS under its four key priorities.

The NTS Peoples’ Panel met, from October 2021 to January 2022, to discuss the four key priorities and to strengthen our evidence base and identify possible policy initiatives. All outcomes from the Peoples’ Panel were pulled together and used to inform the Forum sessions and the NTS Delivery Board.

NTS Forum: Business Group

The purpose of the Business Group is to share experiences and expertise and to highlight opportunities and challenges, supporting the delivery of the four NTS priorities where possible, but particularly to help to deliver inclusive economic growth. The Group reports to the NTS Delivery Board where updates are provided and recommendations for future policy development shared for the Board to consider and jointly take forward. 

The NTS Business Group includes representatives from transport businesses and their representative organisations, including:

  • Airport Operators Association (AOA)
  • British Ports Association
  • Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT)
  • Logisitics UK
  • Rail Freight Group
  • Road Haulage Association
  • Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI)
  • Scottish Engineering
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Technology Scotland
  • VisitScotland
  • Transport Scotland

NTS Forum: Cross-Government Steering Group

The purpose of the Steering Group was to share experience and expertise to facilitate delivery of the NTS, particularly in the development of the second annual NTS Delivery Plan. The Steering Group includes representatives from across the Scottish Government. The Group shares views on:

  • Impacts associated with actions in the current NTS Delivery Plan.
  • Impacts associated with transport actions in the Climate Change Plan Update.
  • Gaps in the current Delivery Plan that should be addressed and could potentially be included in future Plans. This will include consideration of potentially longer term interventions, including on the future of public transport and climate change.
  • Issues that should be taken into account in developing actions for inclusion in future Plans.
  • Potential impacts of actions that might be incorporated into future Plans