Strategic Transport Projects Review 2

The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) will inform the Scottish Government’s transport investment programme in Scotland over the next 20 years (2022-2042) and will help to deliver the vision, priorities and outcomes for transport set out in the National Transport Strategy (NTS2). It will align with other national plans such as the Infrastructure Investment Plan, National Planning Framework (NPF4), Climate Change Plan and the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

Our National Transport Strategy outlines four priorities for our transport system: that it reduces inequalities; takes climate action; helps deliver inclusive economic growth; and improves our health and wellbeing.

STPR2 is a Scotland-wide evidence based review, which follows the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG), 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 will set out how the recommended investments will contribute to Net Zero, Inclusive Growth and our vision for a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system helping deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors.

At the core of STPR2 is the Sustainable Investment Hierarchy. We will aim first to reduce the need to travel unsustainably, make better use of and enhance existing infrastructure, before investing in new capacity. This hierarchy is also central to the Infrastructure Investment Plan.

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.

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

It will report in two phases. Phase 1, published in February 2021 to align with the Capital Spending Review and Infrastructure Investment Plan, makes 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. The recommendations will ‘lock in’ the sustainable travel choices observed over the past year and provide a step change in investment which supports the priorities and outcomes of NTS2. To complete the review, Phase 2 recommendations will be published by the end of 2021 for formal consultation. The results of this will inform the final report and make recommendations to Ministers for future investment priorities over the longer term, 2022-2042.

STPR2 Story Map

As part of the STPR2 project an interactive STPR2 story mapping feature has been created to help you review the latest information and data which has informed the STPR2 process:

Screenshot of the STPR2 Story Map

View the story mapping feature on the STPR2 Project pages

Frequently asked questions on STPR2

Current Status

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.

An updated national Case for Change contained in 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.

Currently the options groupings are being taken through a robust appraisal process, which considers the Sustainable Investment Hierarchy and deliverability, whilst maintaining clear links to the NTS2, aligning the NTS outcomes with the STPR2 Transport Planning Objectives.

We also need to consider Value for Money (VfM) based on performance against the STPR2 objectives and the five Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance Criteria. This also takes into account risks, uncertainties and other factors such as affordability, deliverability and the wider acceptability of options.

A green recovery from COVID-19 will set us on a trajectory to delivering a fair and just transition to Net Zero. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in travel behaviours. We want to ensure people continue to make sustainable travel choices seen during the pandemic, that people return to public transport use and our economic recovery does not overly rely on road-based travel.

At the same time we remain focused on our longer term goals of making Scotland more accessible for residents, visitors and businesses; improving connectivity and highlighting the vital contribution that transport investment can play in enabling and sustaining Scotland’s economic growth.

STPR2 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.

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.

Eight draft STPR2 regional Case for Change reports and a national report were published on 27 February 2020. We invited feedback on the draft Case for Change reports in 2020, and all comments received have been reviewed and appropriate changes incorporated in revised Case for Change Reports, published in February 2021.

As part of the STPR2 project an interactive STPR2 story mapping feature has been created to help you review the latest information and data which has informed the Case for Change for each region:

View the story mapping feature on the STPR2 Project pages

Screenshot of the STPR2 Story Map

Option Sifting Update Reports for the Advanced Regions

Prior to the start of STPR2 three studies were undertaken which effectively formed the STPR2 Initial Appraisal: Case for Change for the areas they covered.

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.

Stage 1b – Phase 1 Recommendations (published February 2021)

The STPR2: Update and Phase 1 Recommendations Report provides transport projects recommendations 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 that 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 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 – VIDEO

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Read video transcript for STPR2 themes video

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 below 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.

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, STAG criteria and deliverability. This includes feasibility, affordability and public acceptability. 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.

Recommended proposed interventions will be reported in STPR2 Phase 2 and will complete the review, providing an evidence base for future strategic transport investment decisions.

Stage 3 -Review and Approvals (Autumn 2021)

Drafts of the STPR2 Reports associated with Phase 2 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 during a 12 week statutory consultation period. Thereafter, once all consultation feedback is considered, final reports will be published.

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.

Public and Stakeholder Engagement


Effective collaboration with stakeholders and the public is vital to STPR2, We have undertaken a considerable programme of engagement activities at a national and regional level throughout the STPR2 process. 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.

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 are:

  • 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

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.

The comments received from stakeholders on the Phase 1 recommendations and national Case for Change options published in February 2021 are being considered and will help to inform the recommendations and options being taken forward for more detailed appraisal as part of Phase 2.

Stakeholder Engagement summary

STPR2 Engagement and consultation in numbers - content fully explained in text below

  • 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 2019
  • 10 national workshops in August/September 2019
  • 3 Business focussed engagement events in October 2019
  • Over 3,000 responses to national survey between 2 December 2019 and 10 January 2020.
  • 655 pupils involved in 30 engagement sessions to date with schools across Scotland.
  • Over 100 responses from the Case for Change Consultation, 50 Organisations and 50+ individuals.
  • 5 Virtual RTWG Briefing sessions at key STPR2 stages between October 2020 – July 2021
  • 1 Virtual STPR2 Information session for MSPs in February 2021
  • 1 Virtual Business focused Information session in March 2021
  • 5 Virtual Statutory Impact Assessment workshops in March 2021
  • Comments forms published in February 2021 to capture feedback: 151 responses on the National Case for Change options and 364 responses on the Phase 1 Recommendations Report were received.


STPR2 Phase 1 Themes - video transcript

Audio Visual
Strategic Transport Projects Review, Protecting our Climate and Improving Lives. STPR2 logo: Strategic Transport Projects Review, Protecting our Climate and Improving Lives.
The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) will inform transport investment in Scotland for the next 20 years. As part of Phase 1, there are 8 themes. [captions]
[No audio] Graphic showing eight themes of STPR2 phase one.

Theme 1: Supporting smart and sustainable travel across Scotland.

National measures that will support active and sustainable travel choices and placemaking principles.

Icon showing a walker, a wheelchair user and a cyclist. [captions]

Theme 2: Creating smart and sustainable towns and villages.

Packages of sustainable transport improvements to enhance attractiveness and sustainability of our towns and villages.

Transport's contribution to placemaking principles in neighbourhoods.

Guidance and framework for delivering mobility hubs.

Icon showing a scene with a house and trees. [captions]

Theme 3: Improving accessibility in rural and peripheral areas and for vulnerable groups.

Improved public transport offering where fixed timetable services do not satisfactorily cover the needs of individuals, including consideration of demand responsive travel.

Investment in Demand Responsive Transport and Mobility as a Service.

Bus stop icon. [captions]

Theme 4: Transforming cities. Measures that will support active and sustainable travel alongside placemaking principles in Scotland's seven cities and neighbourhood centres.

Reallocation of road space for active travel.

Enhancing facilities at major rail stations (Rail Station Redevelopment).

Development of Glasgow Metro and Edinburgh Mass Transit strategies.

City scene icon featuring office blocks. [captions]

Theme 5: Enhancing public transport provision.

Range of measures to improve the accessibility and reliability of public transport and stimulate a sustainable recovery post COVID-19.

Reallocation of road space for buses.

Supporting integrated journeys at ferry terminals.

Infrastructure to provide access for all rail at stations.

Icons of oncoming bus and train. [captions]

Theme 6: Supporting transition to low-carbon transport.

Measures that will increase the development and further transition of Scotland's transport fleet to low carbon.

Investment in low carbon and alternative fuel transport systems.

Delivery of Rail Decarbonisation Programme (Phase 1).

Electric charge point icon. [captions]

Theme 7: Supporting a viable freight industry.

Measures to improve conditions for the freight and haulage industry to deliver a modal shift.

Strategy for improving rest and welfare facilities for hauliers.

Infrastructure to encourage rail freight.

Heavy goods vehicle icon. [captions]

Theme 8: Enhancing safety and resilience on the strategic transport network.

Package of measures on the strategic transport network focusing on improving safety and resilience.

Investment in the trunk road network asset.

Access to Argyll and Bute (A83).

Investment in ferries and ports Speed Management Plan.

Road and weather icon. [captions]
[No audio] STPR2 logo: Strategic Transport Projects Review, Protecting our Climate and Improving Lives.