The National Transport Strategy (NTS) sets the long term vision for our transport policies. It was first published in 2006 after the Scottish Government consulted the public, interested individuals and a wide range of organisations on their views for the future of transport in Scotland.

A refresh in 2016 recommended that a full and collaborative review of the NTS should take place during the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament (from May 2016). The Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP, subsequently announced a full review of the NTS in August 2016.

Purpose of National Transport Strategy

Under Scotland's Economic Strategy, the Scottish Government's overall purpose is to increase sustainable economic growth. A safe, efficient, effective and sustainable transport system, for both passengers and freight, remains one of the key enablers of such sustainable economic growth. It supports businesses in achieving their local, national and international objectives and improves the lives of individuals and communities by connecting them with their economic future.

The National Transport Strategy provides the framework for enhancing our transport system, in response to the main transport challenges that Scotland faces, which in turn contributes to improvement in our economic, environmental and social performance. The current National Transport Strategy sets out three Key Strategic Outcomes to be used as the guiding principles at national, regional and local level when developing strategy and prioritising resources.

These are:

  • Improved journey times and connections, to tackle congestion and lack of integration and connections in transport
  • Reduced emissions, to tackle climate change, air quality, health improvement
  • Improved quality, accessibility and affordability, to give choice of public transport, better quality services and value for money or alternative to car.

These outcomes feed directly into five Strategic Objectives, providing a basis on which to develop policies, decide how to invest resources to maximum effect, and measure the effect of our work.

Progress to date


Purpose of the National Transport Strategy review

The review of the NTS will:

  • set out an updated vision for what kind of transport system we want for the whole of Scotland over the next 20 years or so and how we plan to get there
  • look at how we can successfully address the strategic challenges facing our transport system and how we can take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves
  • inform the update of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) by setting out the national outcomes we want to achieve from our investment when reviewing recommendations for strategic infrastructure priorities across Scotland
  • be aligned with with the emerging policy and legislative landscape in Scotland including the outcomes from the independent planning review, Climate Change Plan, Enterprise and Skills review, City and Region Growth Deals and the Transport Bill.

Our approach to the review of the National Transport Strategy

We're committed to delivering a collaborative review of our National Transport Strategy (NTS), giving stakeholders and communities across Scotland a greater say in influencing the development of local, regional and national transport policies. 

Our approach to the review is built around three core strands: collaborative working with partners, developing a robust evidence base and engaging with stakeholders and citizens across Scotland.

Collaborative working

We have established functional and thematic working groups to bring together expertise across government, key stakeholders and delivery partners to consider in depth the opportunities and challenges for transport over the next 20 years across a range of issues including governance, reducing the environmental impact of transport and consideration of how transport can best support sustainable and equitable economic growth.

Developing a robust evidence base

In 2017 we issued a call for evidence to gather research evidence on several key topic areas to inform the review and also highlight gaps, conflicts and uncertainties in the existing evidence base. The findings of the Call for Evidence will be published this autumn.

Stakeholder engagement

In 2017 we published an online survey to gather views and attitudes towards the existing National Transport Strategy and a wide range of transport issues. The findings of this survey have been analysed and have supported the development of  our stakeholder engagement programme for the review which includes public meetings, workshops and social media campaigns including a dedicated NTS Review Facebook page.

We will be engaging extensively with the public and stakeholders on the NTS review in spring 2019, before initiating a formal public consultation on the draft successor National Transport Strategy (NTS2) in the summer.  Following this consultation we expect the finalised NTS2 to be adopted before the end of 2019.

Getting involved in the National Transport Strategy review

Transport is a key feature of our everyday lives and impacts upon everyone, no matter where in Scotland they live, study, work and play.

So we want to hear your views on the challenges and opportunities facing our transport system over the next 20 years.  Our initial engagement has highlighted a number of issues people feel strongly about: how new technologies might change how and when we use transport, the need to reduce transport's impact on the environment, enabling access to transport for all, maintaining connectivity in our island and rural areas, and how transport can best support equitable economic growth across Scotland. We know these are just some of the issues that matter to you and we want to hear you views on these issues and much more besides.

We will be holding public meetings and events, the details of which will be published regularly on our news and events calendar. You are most welcome to come meet us and have your say. You can also find these on the map below.

You can find also find out more on the NTS Review Facebook page, or email your views to NTSReview@transport.gov.scot.