Strategic Transport Projects Review


The Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR), published in December 2008, sets out the Scottish Government's 29 transport investment priorities over the period to 2032. 


The STPR identifies those recommendations that most effectively contribute towards the Government's Purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth. This Purpose and its supporting objectives are set out in the Scottish Government's Economic Strategy published in 2007.

The STPR has been undertaken using an objective-led, evidence-based approach to appraise potential means of addressing transport issues. This approach is compatible with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) methodology. This approach ensures that the Government's priorities of a Wealthier and Fairer, Healthier, Safer and Stronger, Smarter and Greener Scotland are met and that investment is targeted on those recommendations that most effectively support improving Scotland’s sustainable economic development.

The STPR supports both the National Planning Framework 2 and the delivery of the three strategic outcomes identified in the National Transport Strategy:

  • improving journey times and connections – to tackle congestion and the lack of integration and connections in transport which impact on our high level objectives for economic growth, social inclusion, integration and safety
  • reducing emissions – to tackle the issues of climate change, air quality and health improvement which impact on our high level objective for protecting the environment and improving health, and
  • improving quality, accessibility and affordability – to give people a choice of public transport, where availability means better quality transport services and value for money or an alternative to the car.

The National Planning Framework 3 published earlier this year also makes reference to the STPR in providing the evidence base for much of the transport investment outlined in the Infrastructure Investment Plan 2011.

The outcomes of the STPR are structured on a tiered approach to investment, based around the priorities of:

  • maintaining and safely operating existing assets
  • promoting a range of measures, including innovative solutions, that make better use of existing capacity; and
  • promoting targeted infrastructure improvements where these are necessary, affordable and practicable.

This approach makes best use of limited resources. It also ensures that new infrastructure is identified only after other approaches have been appraised and considered. It promotes and supports a more sustainable transport network by encouraging efficient use of existing road and rail resources, encouraging sustainable mode choices through targeted rail enhancements and providing better opportunities for strategic public transport and freight movements.

A range of delivery partners will be needed for measures which address both national and local objectives. The STPR does not specifically include recommendations that are the responsibility of Local Authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships to develop and deliver. 

STPR - Publications

A number of documents are available setting out the stages of the STPR and its findings. The documents are accessible via the links below:

STPR next steps

Ministers have identified 4 priorities from the 29 recommendations proposed by the STPR. These are:

These are progressing well.

In addition to these major projects, there is a clear commitment within the  Infrastructure Investment Plan 2011 to complete the A9 dualling Perth to Inverness by 2025 and the A96 dualling Inverness to Aberdeen by 2030.

We are also continuing to work with partners and other stakeholders to take forward the development and design of some of the other recommendations arising from the STPR, including the A96 Inveramsay Bridge Improvement Works, the A737 Dalry Bypass and the A77 Maybole Bypass.

The remaining recommendations will be taken forward in line with the resources available from future spending reviews.

Borders Transport Corridors Study

Transport Scotland is undertaking a study of how the Scottish Borders is served by the strategic transport network. The focus of the study is on how the transport network connects the Scottish Borders to the key markets of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Carlisle, it will identify where the network works well, look at issues and seek suggestions for improvement. This study will build on the successes of recent transport investment in the area and will consider 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

Following a tender competition, Jacobs UK Ltd were appointed to undertake the Borders Transport Corridors Pre-appraisal Study in April 2017. The Services Brief sets out the aims and objectives of the study and scope of work.

This Pre-Appraisal study is being undertaken using Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) which means it will be ‘multi-modal’– it will consider 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.

This study is expected to be completed in winter 2017, when recommendations will be considered in the forthcoming Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

Related news items

Further information / Project details

Scope of project

This work is being undertaken using Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). This Pre-Appraisal Study comprises three components:

  1. It is a transport study that makes an assessment of the Problems and Opportunities of the transport system
  2. It will then set Transport Planning Objectives that reflect the problems and opportunities and expresses the outcomes sought from the study:
  3. It will generate 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 will focus on high level problems and opportunities on the network across all modes. Pre-appraisal forms part of the strategic case for any emerging project.

Rationale, project team and timescales

The Programme for Government 2016-17 included a commitment to examine the case for an extension to the Borders Railway along with improvements to the A1, A7 and A68. Transport Scotland, an Agency of the Scottish Government, are managing and delivering this study, and are working together with Scottish Borders Council and SEStran. Following a mini-competition, Transport Scotland appointed Jacobs UK Ltd as Transport Consultants to deliver this study. It is expected that the study report will be completed by Spring 2018.

The study will consider options for all modes of transport in the Borders area. In particular, the study will examine the case for improvements to the A68, A1, A7 and Borders Railway, and identify Borders transport requirements. However no decisions on any preferred routes or alignments will be considered at this stage.

Engagement and consultation

Transport Scotland have 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 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 2017-17 Programme for Government (PfG), the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) will be reviewed, in alignment with National Planning Framework (NPF4) to enable a comprehensive review of national transport infrastructure priorities. The findings from this Pre-Appraisal work will feed in to this review and enable the Borders area’s problems and opportunities to be clearly articulated for consideration at the national level.