Introducing the National Transport Strategy

by Michael Matheson MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

This Strategy advocates a Vision for Scotland's transport system, that will help create great places – a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system, helping deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors. It sets out Priorities to support that Vision: reduces inequalities; takes climate action; helps deliver inclusive economic growth; and improves our health and wellbeing.

Within these Priorities there is greater focus on reducing inequalities and taking climate action to ensure we address the key challenges we face. The Strategy has been built using three pillars of: collaboration, engagement and evidence.

The Scottish Government worked on the development of the Strategy with an extensive network of partners from urban, rural and island settings. We reached out to groups and communities across the length and breadth of Scotland to hear the views of a wide range of users and non-users of the transport system. A comprehensive consultation exercise was undertaken on the draft Strategy and we welcomed the responses received from many individuals and organisations. The responses have been integral in finalising the content of the Strategy. Evidence gathering and detailed analysis have been undertaken to support how, by implementing this Strategy, we will address the challenges, achieve our Priorities and successfully deliver the Vision and Outcomes.

We are now in an environment where the move to low and zero carbon transport is essential to our future wellbeing. In response to the global climate emergency, the Scottish Government has made one of the most ambitious climate commitments in the world to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Over the 20-year period of this Strategy, the role of transport in achieving this target will be crucial and will require further development and use of low carbon technology. It will also require significant societal changes, including a reduction in the demand for unsustainable travel. Combining these with our plans to create equal opportunities for all, ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth and delivering great places to live and work that improve our health and wellbeing will ensure a solid foundation for delivering the Strategy.

Importantly, the Strategy signals the future direction of transport and provides the context within which decisions, in and beyond government, will need to be made. From local and central governments and regional transport partnerships implementing policies, to businesses and individuals taking account of their actions and impacts when making travel decisions, we all have a responsibility for delivering the Strategy and making sure it is a success.

This is an excerpt from Scotland's National Transport Strategy.