The A96 is the trunk road linking the cities of Inverness and Aberdeen, beginning at Raigmore Interchange east of Inverness and ending at the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) Craibstone Junction. The A96 connects several communities along the corridor including Nairn, Forres, Elgin, Fochabers, Keith, Huntly, Inverurie and Kintore.

In August 2021, the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group agreed a Cooperation Agreement and a shared policy programme.

As part of this shared policy programme, various agreed principles regarding investment in the transport network were set out. In relation to the A96, the Scottish Government committed to take forward a transport enhancements programme on the A96 corridor that will improve connectivity between surrounding towns, tackle congestion and address safety and environmental issues. This will include:

  • dualling from Inverness to Nairn
  • bypassing of Nairn, Keith, Elgin and Inverurie accompanied by measures to remove through traffic from the by-passed town centres
  • targeted road safety improvements where needed, for example between Fochabers and Huntly and Inverurie to Aberdeen
  • the development of an A96 “Electric Highway”

Other commitments given in relation to the North East of Scotland included developing a programme of enhanced public transport improvements which include:

  • work to improve the resilience, reliability and efficiency of the Aberdeen to Inverness rail corridor, alongside our commitment to decarbonise the rail network, to make it more competitive to road and encourage modal shift for both passengers and freight
  • working with Nestrans, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils on the feasibility of a mass rapid transit system for the region, and also a rail link between Dyce and Ellon and further north to Peterhead and Fraserburgh
  • reviewing the A96 corridor with a view to implementing appropriate bus priority measures

The Cooperation Agreement noted the current plan is to fully dual the A96 route between Inverness and Aberdeen. The Cooperation Agreement also confirmed there would be a transparent, evidence-based review to include a climate compatibility assessment to assess direct and indirect impacts on the climate and the environment.

The A96 Corridor Review covers the transport corridor from Raigmore Interchange at Inverness to Craibstone Junction at Aberdeen. The review findings will be used to test our current plans for dualling outwith the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) scheme, which runs from Inverness to Hardmuir and already has Ministerial consent.

The review is taking into account the higher reliance of car use in rural areas of the corridor when compared with urban centres. Reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2045 is a key part of the Scottish Government’s policy to address the global climate emergency along with its policies to encourage the use of low emission vehicles in travel options.

The A96 Corridor Review is being undertaken in accordance with the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) and brings the A96 Corridor Review in line with the methodology used in the recently published second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

The A96 Corridor Review is being carried out by design consultants Jacobs AECOM acting on behalf of Transport Scotland. Jacobs AECOM currently support Transport Scotland undertaking STPR2. The review is considering transport problems, such as road safety, and opportunities, such as encouraging the uptake of low emission vehicles within the A96 corridor. It is also looking at the changing policy context and other key considerations, such as development and growth aims for the corridor and surrounding area. It is also considering the impact of the global climate emergency and the Covid-19 pandemic on how people work and travel within the corridor.

A96 Corridor Review Story Map

Public engagement is extremely important to us – it’s a vital part of our works as we progress through the review. The purpose of our Story Map is to keep you informed with the progress of the A96 Corridor Review and allow you to feed-in to the review by completing consultation surveys. This Story Map will provide you with an overview of key details of the A96 Corridor Review, what it is looking at, and how you can input into the review.

For the best experience we recommend viewing this interactive Story Map using a desktop/laptop. Although the Story Map is compatible on handheld devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, some of the maps may not work as expected and images may be altered or cropped.

Our Story Map is also compatible with most web-browsers available - however if you do experience any issues we recommend using Google Chrome for best results.

Public engagement and consultation

Engagement on the A96 Corridor Review to date has included:

  • Stakeholder engagement and public consultation on problems and opportunities as well as suggestions, ideas or interventions for the corridor
  • Stakeholder engagement and public consultation on appraisal outcomes

Further engagement is planned for 2023 and will include stakeholder engagement and public consultation on appraisal outcomes.

All feedback received will be published in consultation reports.

As part of the A96 Dualling Programme, a wide range of engagement and consultation has already been carried out on different sections of the A96 route. The substantial design and development work undertaken to date is vital to inform the review.

Following the public consultation which was carried out from 12 May 2022 to 10 June 2022, the consultation received a total of 4,687 responses.

The online consultation feedback survey asked you to share your feedback on existing problems as well as opportunities across the full extent of the A96 corridor. We also asked about what transport-related suggestions, ideas or interventions you felt would best address the problems and opportunities for the corridor.

All 4,594 consultation feedback responses and 93 emails received have now been analysed and results summarised in the published consultation report.

We would like to thank stakeholders and members of the public for taking part in the A96 Corridor Review consultation survey. All feedback received during the consultation period has been reviewed by the A96 Corridor Review Team and is informing the next stage of the A96 Corridor Review.

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch please email the project team at: A96CorridorReview@jacobs.com

Alternatively, you can call the stakeholder team on 07506 879562.

If you want to write to us instead, the address is:

A96 Corridor Review,
Transport Scotland
Buchanan House
58 Port Dundas Road
Glasgow G4 0HF

We'll be updating our project Story Map to share information about the work being undertaken as review work continues.


A96 Corridor Review Strategic Environmental Assessment – Screening Determination

As per Section 8(1) of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, Transport Scotland has undertaken a screening exercise to determine the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the A96 Corridor Review.

The SEA Screening Report concluded that the A96 Corridor Review would be likely to lead to significant environmental effects and therefore an SEA would be required. After reviewing the SEA Screening Report, the SEA Consultation Authorities (Scottish Environment Protection Agency, NatureScot and Historic Environment Scotland) agreed with this outcome. Therefore, Transport Scotland, as the Responsible Authority, has determined that the A96 Corridor Review will be subject to an SEA.

For further information on the SEA please contact SEA_Gateway@gov.scot.

STAG appraisal

The A96 Corridor Review is being undertaken in accordance with the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) and brings the A96 Corridor Review in line with the methodology used in the recently published second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

STAG is the best practice, objective-led approach to transport appraisal and provides a consistent framework to identify and appraise transport interventions.

Consultation and feedback from members of the public and stakeholders is an essential element of the STAG process and aims to ensure that the views of stakeholders are considered in an inclusive, open, transparent, and appropriate manner.

Initial Appraisal: Case for Change

The Initial Appraisal: Case for Change has now concluded and a report detailing the outcomes has been published.

The Initial Appraisal: Case for Change report sets out the evidence-based problems and opportunities identified in the transport corridor and covers all modes of transport within the A96 Corridor Review study area.

The report presents details of the Transport Planning Objectives (TPOs) and sub-objectives that have been developed for the A96 Corridor Review, which align closely with those developed for STPR2.

The report also sets out the approach to the generation, sifting and development of options for the transport corridor. A wide range of multi-modal options were generated from a variety of sources including previous studies, stakeholder workshop sessions and the online survey responses.  Over 11,000 potential options were generated and an option sifting and refinement process was applied to reduce this number for appraisal.  The options were assessed against a range of criteria to ensure that any options sifted out at this stage of the process were done so in a robust and transparent manner.

Following the option generation and sifting exercise, 16 options are retained and are being carried forward to the next stage of the STAG Appraisal process.

Subsequent phases of the STAG process, the preliminary and detailed appraisal phases, involve more detailed appraisal work, considering the feasibility and performance of options to tackle the identified transport related problems and opportunities and will be developed as the process moves forward.