Frequently asked questions - STPR2

Why are we doing the second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2)?

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.

Why is STPR2 taking place?

The Scottish Government’s 2016-2017 Programme for Government gave a commitment to review both the National Transport Strategy (NTS) and the STPR.

A robust transport appraisal provides evidence to decision makers on transport investment. In Transport Scotland, a transport appraisal undertaken in accordance with appraisal guidance can provide the Strategic Business Case for investment.

Why should I provide feedback on the recently published report(s)?

Transport plays a critical part in the way that most people live their lives. This has clearly been demonstrated by the changes that we have seen during the periods of lockdown and restriction on movement in response to COVID-19. Transport Scotland are seeking your feedback on where and why we should investment in Scotland's transport network? Your views are important in helping us shape those decisions.

Who is doing the STPR2?

Transport Scotland is undertaking STPR2 supported by a Jacobs led consultant team including AECOM and others.

What will STPR2 cover?

STPR2 is a whole-Scotland, evidence-based review of the performance of the strategic transport network across all transport modes – walking, cycling, bus, rail and road plus wider island connectivity. The review will be undertaken in line with the Sustainable Travel and Investment Hierarchies set out in National Transport Strategy to embed in decision making the promotion of walking, wheeling, cycling, public transport and shared transport options in preference to single occupancy private car use.

What are the aim of STPR2?

The aim of STPR2 is to review the performance of the strategic transport system in Scotland across all transport modes and provide a programme of potential transport investment opportunities/ interventions to support the delivery of the vision and outcomes of the National Transport Strategy.

What period will STPR2 cover?

STPR2 Phase 1 makes recommendation for invesements or progression of interventions in the short-term (up to 5 years) and Phase 2 will make recommendations for the period 2022 – 2042.

What impact has COVID-19 had on the review?

After an initial pause to allow the reallocation of resources to support Scottish Ministers in their response to COVID-19, the significance of the pandemic on travel and transport became apparent and the impact on planning for future demand in such period of uncertainty meant that it was right to revisit the approach being taken. It was confirmed in September 2020, that we will now take a phased approach to STPR2.

Phase 1 focusses on invesement in the short term, which despite the uncertainty represent invesement which will seek to ‘lock in’, in transport terms, the positive benefits and travel behaviours of individuals during the pandemic, make steps towards a green economic recovery and provide a step change in investment which supports the priorities and outcomes of the National Transport Strategy 2. 

The Phase 2 will complete the review and will report in Autumn 2021 alongside which we will report our statutory impact assessments. This will be followed by a formal consultation period during which stakeholders and the public can provide feedback.

Has COVID-19 not changed the way we travel forever?

The pace and scale of collapse in economic and social activity as a result of Covid-19 has been unprecedented and has had a significant impact on travel demand.

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 planning will play a significant role in informing how such uncertainty is tackled.  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.

What other assessments are being undertaken?

STPR2 is being informed by, and will involve the completion of, the following statutory assessments:

  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)- assesses the likely impact of plans, programmes and strategies on the environment and seeks ways to minimise those effects.
  • Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) - considers equality issues for the design and delivery of projects, plans and policies. It covers people in respect of all aspects of equality (age, disability, sex, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment and pregnancy and maternity).
  • The Fairer Scotland Duty - considers how to reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage. In broad terms, ‘socio-economic disadvantage’ means living on a low income compared to others in Scotland, with little or no accumulated wealth, leading to greater material deprivation, restricting the ability to access basic goods and services.
  • Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) - considers impacts on children and young people. It covers individual children, groups of children, and all children up to age 18.
  • Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA) - considers impacts of polices, strategies or services on islands.

How are Islands and Ferries being dealt with within the review?

The current Ferries Plan is due to be replaced by the end of 2022 by an Islands Connectivity Plan. It will be developed within the policy context provided by the recently published National Transport Strategy and National Islands Plan, which are themselves aligned to the Scottish Government’s Purpose and National Outcomes.

It will be closely linked to the emerging Strategic Transport Projects Review, in order to consider island connectivity more broadly having regard to aviation, ferries and fixed links, and to connecting and onward travel. It will reflect the Government’s commitments to achieve net carbon neutrality by setting out pathways towards zero/low emission vessels and services.

That policy development is underway. In the meantime, investment decisions continue to be taken within the context of VRDP [Vessel Replacement & Deployment Plan], again with the engagement of stakeholders.”

How does STPR2 relate to the Rail investment pipeline?

STPR2 can be considered the Strategic Business Case for recommendations made through that process, therefore Rail investments identified through STPR2 will enter the rail investment pipeline as set out in Transport Scotland's Rail Enhancements & Capital Investment Strategy.

Does STPR2 supersede STPR published in 2008?

Yes. Recommendations from the first STPR, which have not been delivered nor form part of a programme for design development or delivery will be reconsidered in STPR2.

What is the difference between phase 1 and 2?

Phase 1 is the short term priorities (up to 5 years) as we respond to the pandemic, whereas Phase 2 will infrom investment priorities form 2022 to 2042.

What about the projects that are sifted out – does that mean they will never be delivered?

Projects are sifted out for various reasons however it does not necessarily mean they do not have merit. They may be considered by Transport Scotland in the future, may be considered by other transport authorities or may be already being considered as part of another workstream of Government/ TS.

Why is it taking so long?

Undertaking a multimodal, national transport appraisal is technically challenging, the approach must be robust, transparent with suitable engagement and consultation at appropriate stages. In addition, the pandemic impacted on the programme, as well as the new two-phase approach.

How have communities been involved?

We have engaged extensively with communities throughout the country. We received 3,025 responses to the national public survey, we held 20 Regional stakeholder workshops focussing on option generation and 22 Regional stakeholder problem and opportunities workshops. We worked with 655 pupils in 30 school sessions and 600 individual stakeholders. We also carried out 150 Regional interviews, 10 national workshops and three business focussed events.