Strategic Transport Projects Review 2

The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) will inform transport investment in Scotland for the next 20 years.

STPR2 will help to deliver the vision, priorities and outcomes for transport set out in the National Transport Strategy (NTS2) and will align with other national plans such as the National Planning Framework (NPF4) and the Climate Change Plan.

STPR2 involves conducting an evidence-based review of the performance of Scotland’s strategic transport network across all transport modes – walking, cycling, bus, rail and road plus wider island connectivity – to identify interventions required to support the delivery of Scotland’s Economic Strategy.

The STPR2 review will replace the first STPR published in 2009.

The outcomes from STPR2 will:

  • help make Scotland more accessible for residents, visitors and businesses
  • create better connectivity with sustainable, smart and cleaner transport options
  • highlight the vital contribution that transport investment can play in enabling and sustaining Scotland’s economic growth.

The review will give Scottish Ministers a programme of potential transport investment opportunities for the period 2022-2042.

Current status

The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and response has impacted programme progress on STPR2. However, key progress has been made in several areas:

  • Case for Change reports were published in draft, and available to comment on until 4 September 2020;
  • A Preliminary Appraisal Framework has been developed for review;
  • Option Sifting has substantially been progressed;
  • A revised, two-phased approach to STPR2, has been agreed with the Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson; and,
  • An updated programme has been developed.

We now intend to take a phased approach to STPR2, with Phase 1 reporting along the original planned timescales and focusing on recommendations which ‘lock in’, in transport terms, the positive benefits and travel behaviours of individuals and provide a step change in investment which supports the priorities and outcomes of the National Transport Strategy. Phase 1 will report later in 2020. Phase 2, which will complete the review, will report later in 2021.

In the sections that follow we set out more detail on Phase 1 and Phase 2 as well as the Case for Change Reports that set out the evidence base for both phases.

A Two Phased Approach

Due to the impacts and programme delays associated with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and response, a two-phased approach to the appraisal of options was agreed:

  • Phase 1 – reporting winter 2020, focussing on options that:
    • Align well with the priorities of the National Transport Strategy,
    • Can be delivered or significantly progressed within the next 2-3 years; and,
    • Will help support recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Phase 2 – reporting Autumn 2021 and outlining recommendations for investment over the longer 20-year STPR2 horizon.

Phase 1

Initial Phase 1 findings have been based on a high-level assessment approach. This approach has identified options which performed best against the following criteria:

  • Can be delivered or significantly progressed within the next 2 – 3 years
  • Performed best against post Covid-19 priorities
  • Significantly contribute to the following STPR2 Objectives:
    • A sustainable strategic transport system that contributes significantly to the Scottish Government’s net zero emissions targetAn inclusive strategic transport system the improves the affordability and accessibility of public transport
    • A cohesive strategic transport system that enhances communities as places, supporting health and wellbeing
    • An integrated strategic transport system that contributes towards sustainable inclusive growth in Scotland
    • A reliable and resilient strategic transport system that is safe and secure for travellers.          

The omission of any project from Phase 1 should not be taken as any indication of that project’s likelihood of being recommended for implementation by STPR2.

Phase 2

The following sections set out the different elements of the Phase 2 of STPR2, commencing with the current finalisation of the Case for Change process and the engagement that has fed into this before detailing the process and timeline for the remaining elements of the review.


Case for Change reports

STPR2 Case for Change reports summarise transport related problems and opportunities as the basis for defining Transport Planning Objectives (TPOs). These objectives then guide the development and sifting of interventions to address the problems and opportunities.

Eight draft STPR2 regional Case for Change reports and a national report were published on 27 February 2020. These have been developed based on a review of existing policies and strategies, data analysis, partnership working and extensive stakeholder engagement:

Relevant transport, planning and economic policies and strategies – national, regional and local – have been considered. Particularly important are the Programme for Government, National Transport Strategy 2 (NTS2), Climate Change Plan and regional and local transport strategies.

A wide range of data sources have helped identify problems and opportunities in each region as well as to validate stakeholder feedback.

Partnership working has included regular meetings with the Regional Transport Working Groups in the respective regions that we are working closely with to progress STPR2.

A significant programme of stakeholder engagement has included a large number of regional and national workshops, business events and structured interviews. In addition, more than 3,000 individuals, organisations and businesses responded to the STPR2 survey which ran from 2 December 2019 to 10 January 2020.

Based on the workstreams above, an overall draft Transport Planning Objectives (TPOs) framework has been developed. This is detailed in the respective reports. These objectives are aligned with the recently published NTS2 priorities, outcomes and policies.

Draft Case for Change reports

Feedback on the reports

We invited feedback on the draft Case for Change reports through linked comment forms.

This feedback mechanism closed on Friday 4 September 2020. All the comments received have now been reviewed and appropriate changes made to the Case for Change Reports. We are very grateful to all those that provided comments. ,

We recognise that the baseline presented in the Case for Change documents represents a pre-covid scenario. Whilst there has been data collected over the Covid-19 lockdown and lockdown easing periods we do not consider this data currently provides a robust baseline on which to base longer term investment decisions. This continues to be a very challenging as well as unusual period for society. Whilst there may be significant impacts and indeed new opportunities moving forward, not all changes observed will necessarily be indicative of long-term trends.

Future uncertainty was always recognised to be a very important consideration for STPR2 with an ambitious NTS2 seeking to bring about sustainable travel changes and a twenty year investment horizon. The impacts of Covid-19 on travel demand and economic activity and on society undoubtedly adds to this uncertainty. Scenario based planning potentially has a significant role to play in informing how such uncertainty is tackled. The consultancy team is working with Transport Scotland to develop a range of scenarios that should be considered taking account of the impacts of Covid-19 on travel demand.

Earlier initial appraisal reports

Three Initial Appraisals have already been published for three regions; Aberdeen City Region, the Scottish Borders and the South West of Scotland (as below) that now feed into STPR2:


Public and Stakeholder Engagement

Effective collaboration with stakeholders and the public is vital to STPR2, and we have undertaken a considerable programme of engagement activities  engaging at a national and regional level throughout the initial review process. During the first phases of the Covid -19 pandemic, public and stakeholder engagement was paused, as we worked to deliver the COVID-19 Transport Transition Plan. Engagement is now recommencing as we deliver a phased approach to STPR2.

As part of Transport Scotland’s commitment to collaborative working, Regional Transport Working Groups (RTWGs), have been established across Scotland with local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) to inform and guide the review in their respective areas. RTWGs feature representatives covering a variety of remits, including planning and economic development.

The RTWGs have been complemented by a comprehensive programme of stakeholder and public engagement activities building on the engagement work undertaken for NTS2. Regional workshops have brought together transport users, business, equality and other representative groups to provide their input on problems and opportunities.

National workshops have considered all modes of transport as well as engaging with key business sectors and organisations involved with environmental and equality agendas.

An online survey to capture the views of the wider public, community councils and organisations with an interest in transport ran from 2 December 2019 to 10 January 2020. Similar surveys have also been completed in three earlier Pre-Appraisal studies in the South West, the Scottish Borders and Aberdeen City Region.

Stakeholder Engagement summary (Case for Change stage)

  • Some 600 individual stakeholders engaged in 22 regional problems and opportunities workshops in the Summer of 2019, representing almost 300 organisations
  • Over 150 Regional Structured Interviews
  • 20 Regional Intervention workshops in October/November
  • 7 national workshops in August/September
  • 3 Business focussed engagement events in October
  • Over 3,000 responses to national survey between 2 December 2019 and 10 January 2020.
  • Almost 900 pupils involved in 23 engagement sessions to date with schools across Scotland.
  • Over 100 responses from the Case for Change comment, 50 Organisations and 50+ individuals.

STPR2 Phase 2 - Process and timeline

The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) is being carried out in accordance with the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG).

The key phases of outlined in STAG are:

  • Initial appraisal: case for change
  • Appraisal
  • Review and approvals
  • Consultation and final publication
  • Post appraisal: Monitoring & Evaluation
Update your cookie preferences to view the video.

 

Stage 1 - Initial appraisal: Case for Change (completing December 2020)

Comprehensive engagement, policy review and data analysis has been undertaken to identify and consider transport related problems and opportunities. This informs production of the national and regional STPR2 Case for Change Reports. These reports set out the Transport Planning Objectives (TPOs)which guide development of interventions throughout the rest of the STPR2 process.

The generation of the ‘long list’ of options for STPR2 has also taken place within this Stage, informed by a range of sources and activities including: 

  • A review of the 29 recommendations from STPR1; 
  • A review of the City Region and Growth Deals; 
  • A review of regional and national policies, studies and business cases;
  • 20 Regional Stakeholder Option workshops across all STPR2 regions;
  • A review of shortlisted options from the three Advanced Studies;
  • National workshops - a series of mode and sector-specific workshops covering a range of issues at a national level; and
  • The online public engagement survey which closed on 10 January 2020. 

The sources of options above have been collated, reviewed and challenged by the STPR2 Consultant team and supplemented by a wider review of best practice within Scotland, the UK and further afield.

During this stage the collated options have been assessed against the Transport Planning Objectives with a number of these being sifted out from STPR2 although they may still be appropriate to be taken forward through regional and local strategies.

Information from this Option Sifting process has also fed into the Phase 1 work which focusses on interventions that can be delivered in the shorter term.

Stage 2 – Appraisal (January 2021 to Summer2021)

During this stage the sifted options are combined into packages and appraised against the Transport Planning Objectives, against wider STAG criteria and deliverability. This includes feasibility, affordability and public acceptability.

Further detailed assessment is undertaken to produce a final short list of proposed interventions. A scenario-based approach is proposed within this appraisal stage to help ensure that the future outcomes envisaged in NTS2 and other relevant policy commitments can be achieved. This is underpinned by the use of robust modelling and data analysis tools appropriate for the overall review and the diverse regions.

Stage 3 - Review and Approvals (Summer 2021)

Drafts of the STPR2 Reports, a proposed delivery plan and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and are finalised for approval by Scottish Ministers. The SEAs process ensures that environmental and other sustainability aspects are considered effectively.

Stage 4 - Consultation and Final Publication (Autumn 2021)

The final draft reports will be published during Autumn2021, providing stakeholders, including the general public, with the opportunity to comment before the end of 2021.

Stage 5 - Post Appraisal Monitoring and Evaluation

The output of the process will provide Scottish Ministers with a programme of potential transport interventions over the period 2022 to 2042 and inform the updated Infrastructure Investment Plan.

The STPR2 TPOs provide a basis for project appraisal, monitoring and ongoing evaluation.

It should be noted that:

  • Timings may be adjusted to reflect the outputs from other relevant strategies due to be published during the STPR2 process, such as the Climate Change Plan and the National Planning Framework 4
  • Transport interventions not prioritised by STPR2 can still be taken forward at regional and local levels.

Earlier Initial appraisal: Case for Change studies

Borders Transport Corridors Study

The focus of the study wass on how the transport network connects the Scottish Borders to the key markets of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Carlisle, it identified where the network works well, looked at issues and seek suggestions for improvement. This study built on the successes of recent transport investment in the area and considered the future transport needs of the Scottish Borders and cross border connections, including examining the case for extending the Borders Railway.

The commitment to undertake this work was made in the Scottish Government’s 2016-17 Programme for Government.

Approach to the Study

The Draft Final Borders Transport Corridors – Pre-Appraisal Report work was undertaken by Jacobs UK Ltd on behalf of Transport Scotland and Project partners SEStran and Scottish Borders Council and is the outcome of a collaborative study undertaken by national, regional and local transport authorities. The work has benefitted from extensive stakeholder engagement - the project partners are grateful for the input and insight provided. A public online survey was also undertaken, the results of which are reflected in the report.

This Pre-Appraisal study was undertaken using Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) which means it is ‘multi-modal’– it considered the rationale for improvements to road, rail, public transport and active travel on the key strategic corridors including the A68, A1, A7 and Borders Railway.

Further information / Project details

Scope of project

This work was undertaken using Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). This Pre-Appraisal Study comprised three components:

  1. It is a transport study that makes an assessment of the Problems and Opportunities of the transport system
  2. It then set Transport Planning Objectives that reflect the problems and opportunities and expresses the outcomes sought from the study:
  3. It generated a the wide set of transport options which could alleviate the problems and address the potential opportunities.

This work forms the pre-appraisal stage of the transport appraisal process which is undertaken at the early stage of the development of any Transport Scotland project. The work focused on high level problems and opportunities on the network across all modes. Pre-appraisal forms part of the strategic case for any emerging project.

Engagement and consultation

Transport Scotland committed to working collaboratively with local stakeholders for this study. As part of that approach, a public survey was undertaken. This was publicised on Transport Scotland, Scottish Borders Council, SEStran and Northumberland County Councils websites and took place over seven weeks in July and August 2017. At the same time, a web-based survey was conducted with all Community Councils in the Scottish Borders. Paper based alternatives to both of these were also made available. A series of workshops were also held in June involving key stakeholders including local authorities, transport operators, emergency services, business organisations and local interest groups. As a follow-up, structured telephone interviews were undertaken to discuss issues in more detail.

Next steps

As set out in the 2017-18 Programme for Government (PfG), the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) is now being reviewed, in alignment with National Planning Framework (NPF4) to enable a comprehensive review of national transport infrastructure priorities. The findings from this Initial Appraisal work is now being fed into STPR2 which will examine transport investment priorities at the national level for the next 20 years. This initial appraisal work will ensure the needs and priorities of the Borders area are clearly identified and inform STPR2.

South West Scotland Transport Study- Initial Appraisal: Case for Change

Approach to the study

This study investigated how the South West Scotland is served by the strategic transport network. The focus of the study was on how the transport network connects Dumfries and Galloway and southern Ayrshire to the key markets of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Carlisle and includes access to the Ports at Cairnryan. It identified where the network works well, looked at issues and potential suggestions for improvement. This study built on the recent transport investment in the area and considered the future transport needs of South West Scotland and cross border connections.

The commitment to undertake this work was made in the Scottish Government’s 2017-18 Programme for Government. This study has been a successful example of collaborative working between national, regional and local transport authorities, undertaken by AECOM and Peter Brett Associates on behalf of Transport Scotland and project partners Dumfries and Galloway Council, East Ayrshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, SWEStran (the Regional Transport Partnership) and SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport).

The work has benefitted from extensive stakeholder engagement - the project partners are grateful for the input and insight provided through a range of engagement activities including workshops, interviews, and a public online survey.

Outcomes from all of these have been combined with data and evidence gathered on the transport network in the area, and are reflected in the report.

Scope of project

In line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG), this Initial Appraisal Study comprised three components:

  1. It is a transport study that makes an assessment of the problems and opportunities of the transport system;
  2. It then set transport planning objectives that reflect the problems and opportunities and expresses the outcomes sought for improvements in the area; and
  3. It generated transport options which could achieve those objectives

The work focussed on national and regional level problems and opportunities on the network across all modes and forms an important part of the strategic case for any emerging project.

Next Steps

As set out in the 2017-17 18 Programme for Government (PfG), the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) is now being will be reviewed, in alignment with National Planning Framework (NPF4) to enable a comprehensive review of national transport infrastructure priorities. The findings from this South West Study is now being fed into STPR2 which will examine transport investment priorities at the national level for the next 20 years. This initial appraisal work will ensure the needs and priorities of the South West are clearly identified and inform STPR2.

Engagement and consultation

We committed to working collaboratively on this study with local stakeholders and all of those with an interest in the future of transport in the South West. As part of the approach, an online survey was undertaken which received around 3,000 responses. This was publicised on the Transport Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, East Ayrshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, SWEStran and SPT websites.

The survey was open for eight weeks between 19 September and 16 November 2018. A paper based alternative to this was made available in local community buildings.

In parallel the online Placecheck tool involving an interactive map was provided - this enabled the public and interested stakeholders to record specific comments on transport issues, opportunities or proposed improvement options in the study area and tie these to a particular location. Over 300 responses were received via this tool and it was viewed as a valuable addition to the engagement process.

To ensure maximum opportunity for the views of local residents to be taken into account feedback was also sought from Community Councils in the study area via email.

A series of stakeholder workshops were also held in October and November in Stranraer, Dumfries and Maybole. Attendees included local authorities, transport operators, business organisations and local interest groups.

Structured telephone interviews were also undertaken with key stakeholders to discuss issues in more detail.

Additionally, Elected Members briefings were held in November (Dumfries) and December (Ayr) – these were attended by MPs, MSPs and Local Members representing the study area, and provided the opportunity to update them on progress and seek views on emerging findings.


Background

STPR2 is a Scotland-wide review of the strategic transport network across all transport modes, including walking, wheeling, cycling, bus, rail and car, as well as reviewing wider island and rural connectivity.

It's being undertaken in line with the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) to provide an evidence based appraisal of different transport options.

The review will embed the Sustainable Travel Hierarchy, set out in the National Transport Strategy 2 (NTS2), This promotes walking, wheeling, cycling, public transport and shared transport options in preference to individual use of a private car.

Options will not solely consider new infrastructure but will be taken forward using the Sustainable Investment Hierarchy also set out in NTS2. This looks at how best to reduce the need for travel by unsustainable modes, how to better maintain and safely operate existing assets and make best use of existing capacity before considering whether any new, targeted infrastructure needs to be built.

STPR2 is embedded in a wider policy context, which is very different to when the first STPR was undertaken 10 years ago. In addition to NTS2, which sets the strategic vision and outcomes for transport over the next 20 years, STPR2 will also consider other parallel policies and related programmes and commitments including:

Regional Transport Strategies (RTSs) developed by Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs).

The National Planning Framework (NPF4)which provides the key linkage between transport and land use planning.

A number of equality and environmental statutory impact assessments will be undertaken in parallel with STPR2 covering: