Strategic Transport Projects Review 2

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

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.

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 Infrastructure Investment Plan, 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, wheeling, cycling, bus, rail and road plus wider island connectivity – to identify interventions required to support the delivery of Scotland’s Economic Strategy.

It will report in two phases, the first of which will make recommendations on transport interventions for investment in the short term, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Scottish Government plans for a green recovery. With Phase 2 reporting in Autumn 2021, STPR2 will then give Scottish Ministers a programme of potential transport investment opportunities for the period 2022-2042.

Current status

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we revised the STPR2 programme and are now taking forward a two-phased approach to the reporting of recommendations for future transport investment opportunities.

On 3 February 2021 we published Phase 1 recommendations and associated impact assessment progress reports. These are the first STPR2 recommendations for transport investment, focussing on recommendations for transport projects or interventions that significantly contribute to STPR2 objectives, align well with NTS2 priorities, and can be progressed or delivered within the current spending period and will help support a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 2 will contain further recommendations and will complete STPR2. These will be reported in Autumn 2021.

An updated national Case for Change contained within the STPR2: Update and Phase 1 Recommendations Report was also published. This includes the options groupings that will be taken forward for further appraisal in Phase 2 of STPR2.

Updated Case for Change reports have also been published for STPR2 regions.

Your Feedback – Closing date midnight 31 March 2021

We are inviting feedback on the Case for Change Transport Options and draft STPR2 Update and Phase 1 Recommendation Report, particularly in relation to:

  • Phase 1 Recommendations
  • Options that will be taken forward for further appraisal in STPR2 Phase 2
  • the COVID-19 Addendum of the report.

Please submit any comments or feedback using the forms below:

The closing date for feedback is midnight on 31 March 2021.

Phase 1

The Phase 1 recommendations include transport projects which performed best against the following criteria during a high-level assessment:

  • Significantly contribute to the following STPR2 Objectives:
    • A sustainable strategic transport system that contributes significantly to the Scottish Government’s net-zero emissions target
    • An 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 users
  • Align well with National Transport Strategy 2 priorities
  • Can be delivered or significantly progressed within the short term
  • Performed best against COVID-19 recovery priorities.

The STPR2: Update and Phase 1 Recommendations report provides further information on the Phase 1 high level assessment alongside the national Case for Change.

The following impact assessments have been progressed alongside and informed the Phase 1 recommendations. These are as follows:

  • STPR2 Update and Phase 1 Recommendations Strategic Environmental Assessment Report (SEA)
  • STPR2 Update and Phase 1 Recommendations Impact Assessment Progress Report (EqIA)

Phase 1 Recommendations

The Phase 1 recommendations consist of interventions that have been grouped into a number of themes.

STPR2 Phase 1 Themes, theme description and interventions

STPR2 Phase 1 Themes, theme description and interventions

There are no specific priorities, all are important in the delivery of NTS2 and to recover from the pandemic. The publication of these interventions, or projects, confirm the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting and working in partnership with others to develop, deliver and address the impacts of the pandemic.

These recommendations consolidate transport investments made in Programme for Government, the Low Carbon Fund, Infrastructure Investment Plan and Capital Spending Review, providing a rationale for those investments, in addition to making the case for investment for some new projects and increasing investment in others.

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. Stakeholder engagement has informed the development of Phase 1 with earlier drafts being shared with Regional Transport Working Groups for comment. Further detail is outlined in the Public and Stakeholder Engagement section.

An Appraisal Summary Table has been prepared for each intervention. These describe the interventions and supporting rationale in more detail.

Phase 1 Recommendations – Your feedback

We are inviting feedback on the Phase 1 Recommendations as outlined in the draft STPR2 Update and Phase 1 Recommendation report through the linked comment form.

Please submit any feedback or comments through this form no later than midnight on 31 March 2021.


STPR2 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.

The STPR2 review will replace the first STPR published in 2009 and will give Scottish Ministers a programme of potential transport investment opportunities for the period 2022-2042.

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.

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.

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


Next steps - 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 outlined in STAG are:

  • Initial appraisal: case for change - now complete
  • Appraisal
  • Review and approvals
  • Consultation and final publication
  • Post appraisal: Monitoring & Evaluation

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

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Stage 1a - Initial appraisal: Case for Change (completed February 2021)

Comprehensive engagement, policy review and data analysis has been undertaken to identify and consider transport related problems and opportunities. This informed 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: 

  • Re-consider those recommendations of the first STPR, which have not been delivered nor form part of a programme for design development or delivery
  • A review of 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
  • 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 or scoped 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 1b – Phase 1 Recommendations (published February 2021)

Phase 1 Recommendations were published in February 2021. Further background can be found in Phase 1 – Background - Investment focused on sustainable travel for a green recovery.

Stage 2 – Appraisal (Spring to Summer 2021)

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

Further detailed assessment will be undertaken to produce a final short list of proposed interventions which will be reported in STPR2 Phase 2 and will complete the Review. This appraisal stage is underpinned by the use of robust modelling and data analysis tools appropriate for the overall national review and the diverse regions.

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. We are developing a range of scenarios of how the future might look. These include taking account of the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on travel demand. When we come to appraise future options as part of STPR2 consideration will be given to how options perform in these scenarios.

Stage 3 -Review and Approvals (Autumn 2021)

Drafts of the STPR2 Reports associated with Phase 2 and a proposed delivery plan are finalised for approval by Scottish Ministers during Autumn 2021. These will be accompanied by the associated statutory impact assessments.

Stage 4 - Consultation and Final Publication (Winter 2021)

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

Stage 5 - Post Appraisal Monitoring and Evaluation

The STPR2 TPOs provide a basis for project appraisal, monitoring and ongoing evaluation to determine the contribution the investments have made to these objectives.

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
  • transport interventions recommended will be subject to prioritisation and future spending reviews
  • Transport interventions not recommended by STPR2 may still be appropriate to be taken forward at regional and local levels.

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, Infrastructure Investment Plan and the emerging National Planning Framework 4.

A wide range of data sources have helped identify problems and opportunities in each region as well as to validate stakeholder feedback. 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. 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. The COVID-19 Chapter and separate Addendum within the National Case for Change document considers the longer- term impacts of COVID-19 within the context of STPR2 and view.

Partnership working with the Regional Transport Working Groups has been critical in progressing STPR2 with regular virtual meetings continuing to take place in the respective regions.

A significant programme of stakeholder engagement has taken place, including 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. We invited feedback on the draft Case for Change reports in 2020 through linked comment forms. This feedback mechanism closed on 4 September 2020. All the comments received have been reviewed and appropriate changes incorporated in the revised Case for Change Reports.

We are very grateful to all those that provided comments. Based on the workstreams above, an overall Transport Planning Objectives (TPOs) framework has been developed. This is detailed in the respective reports. These objectives are aligned with the published NTS2 priorities, outcomes and policies.


STPR2 Project pages

As part of the STPR2 project an interactive STPR2 story mapping feature has been created helping stakeholders to review the latest information and data which has informed the Case for Change.

Screenshot of the opening STPR2 Project page website


Your feedback

STPR2 Options and COVID-19 Addendum - Your feedback

We're inviting feedback on the STPR2 options and COVID-19 Addendum sections of the National Case for Change report through the linked comment form, you will also find a link to provide any feedback or comments on the reports. Please submit any feedback or comments through this form no later than midnight on 31 March 2021.

Option Sifting Update Reports for the Advanced Regions

Prior to the start of STPR2 three studies were either complete or on-going which effectively formed the STPR2 Initial Appraisal: Case for Change for the areas they covered.

The STPR2 option sifting methodology was developed to build upon those sifting methodologies used for the advanced regions, but adopts specific STPR2 transport planning objectives (TPOs), sifting criteria and additional scope refinements. The option sifting for the advanced regions was reviewed to take account of this and can be found below.

The following reports have been prepared to take account of the STPR2 objectives and methodology thereby bringing all STPR2 Regions to the same stage.

A draft of the revised option sifting was shared with the respective Regional Transport Working Groups for comment. The advanced studies together with the above Option Sifting Update Reports form the STPR2: Initial Appraisal Case for Change reports for these regions.

Given these reports relate to aligning previous studies with the STPR2 scope and methodology we are not seeking feedback on these.


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 at a national and regional level throughout the Case for Change preparation process.

As part of Transport Scotland’s commitment to collaborative working, Regional Transport Working Groups (RTWGs), have been established across Scotland with local authorities, National Park 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 STPR2 RTWGs and the STPR2 regions they cover can be found below.

  • Argyll & Bute RTWG – Argyll & Bute Region
  • Ayrshire & Arran RTWG - Ayrshire & Arran Region
  • Edinburgh & South East RTWG - Edinburgh & South East Region
  • Forth Valley RTWG – Forth Valley Region
  • Glasgow City Region RTWG - Glasgow City Region Region
  • Highlands and Islands RTWG - Highlands and Islands Region
  • North East RTWG – North East Region
  • Tay Cities RTWG - Tay Cities
  • Shetland Islands RTWG - Shetland Islands Region
  • South of Scotland RTWG – South West Scotland Region & Borders Region

From March 2020 stakeholder engagement needed to be paused due to the COVID -19 pandemic with Transport Scotland resources being focussed on supporting Ministers’ response to the pandemic. We re-started stakeholder engagement in October 2020 as we deliver a phased approach to STPR2.

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

National workshops also 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.

Previous STPR2 publications

Draft Case for Change reports – Published 27 February 2020

The following draft Case for Change reports were published on 27 February 2020. We invited feedback on these which closed on 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.