We're undertaking a study of how South West Scotland is served by the strategic transport network. The focus of the study is 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 will identify where the network works well, look at issues and seek suggestions for improvement. This study will build on the recent transport investment in the area and will consider 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.
Approach to the study
We appointed consultants AECOM in April 2018 to undertake the study and are working collaboratively with Dumfries and Galloway Council, East Ayrshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, SWEStran (the Regional Transport Partnership) and SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport).The Services Brief sets out the aims and objectives of the study and scope of work.
This Initial Appraisal: Case for change study is being undertaking using Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) which means it will be multi-modal – considering the rationale for improvements to road, rail, public transport and active travel on the key strategic corridors including those served by the A75, A77, A701 as well as the railway corridors to Stranraer and Carlisle via Kilmarnock / Dumfries with a particular focus on access to the ports at Cairnryan.
Scope of project
In line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG), this Initial Appraisal Study comprises three components:
- It is a transport study that makes an assessment of the problems and opportunities of the transport system;
- It will then set transport planning objectives that reflect the problems and opportunities and expresses the outcomes sought for improvements in the area; and
- It will generate transport options which could achieve those objectives
The work will focus 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.
Rationale, project team and timescales
The initial appraisal and analysis work is expected to be completed in winter 2018/19 with recommendations becoming available in early 2019. These will be considered in the forthcoming Strategic Transport Projects Review (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.