Title of Strategy
Reducing car use for a healthier, fairer and greener Scotland: A route map to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in car kilometres by 2030
Summary of aims and expected outcomes of strategy, proposal, programme or policy
The route map sets out the interventions that will be put in place across a range of government policy areas in order to support people to reduce their car use by:
- Reducing the need to travel
- Choosing local destinations
- Switching modes to walk, wheel, cycle or public transport
- Combining trips or sharing journeys where car is still necessary
Transport Strategy and Analysis
Transport Climate Change and Just Transition
The route map for reducing car kilometres by 20% by 2030 has been developed with Transport Scotland’s four priorities of taking climate action; reducing inequalities; helping deliver inclusive economic growth and improving health and wellbeing at its core, and thus impacts on lower-income groups and those living in more deprived areas have been considered throughout the route map development and intervention selection process. The route map is not specific to particular groups, businesses, or geographies but is designed to provide options to assist everyone to contribute to the national commitment to reduce car kilometres. This impact assessment aims to demonstrate the positive impact that the framework will have in creating a fairer Scotland as well as to flag any areas where there may be the potential for negative impacts which need to be mitigated as the individual policies are developed.
The principle of a just transition is at the heart of the route-map and it is recognised that there will be some people for whom transitioning to decreased car use, particularly in the short-term, will be more challenging. This may include those on low-incomes who rely on their cars to access education or employment, or who use a car as part of their job. It is recognised that this may particularly be the case for some people in rural areas where there may be fewer options for alternative modes.
It is for this reason that the target is a national one rather than a target for all regions of Scotland or indeed all individuals within Scotland to achieve the same percentage reduction in car use.
It is however important to recognise the inequity of a status quo that facilitates car use at the expense of other modes. This is because access to private vehicles is not available to all, with those on lower incomes as well being less likely to have access to a car, including in rural areas. It is therefore important that we implement our policies as broadly as possible in order to ensure a widespread and equitable distribution of the benefits of car-use reduction.
Summary of evidence
Walking and wheeling
There are similar rates of walking amongst all income groups, with 32% of those with annual household incomes under £10,000 walking for transport daily, compared with 29% of those with annual household incomes over £50,000 (Transport and Travel in Scotland 2019).
Those on lower household incomes are less likely to cycle with 2% of those with annual household incomes under £10,000 having cycled in the past 7 days, compared with 7% of those with annual household incomes over £50,000 (Scottish Government: Long term monitoring of health inequalities, 2020). A similar pattern is seen in relation to access to cycles, with 19% of household with annual incomes less than £10,000 having one or more cycles, compared with 62% of households with annual incomes over £50,000 (Scottish Government: Long term monitoring of health inequalities, 2020).
Those on lower incomes are more likely to use bus than those on higher incomes, with 51% of those with household incomes up to £10,000 per annum having used the bus in the past week, compared with 27% of those with household incomes over £50,000 per annum (Scottish Government: Long term monitoring of health inequalities, 2020). The trend is reversed for train use, with 23% of those in the lowest income bracket having used train in the past month, compared with 43% of those in the highest income bracket (Scottish Government: Long term monitoring of health inequalities, 2020).
Those on lower incomes are less likely to use cars, with 19% of those with annual household incomes under £10,000 using car daily, compared with 62% of those with annual household incomes over £50,000 (Scottish Transport Statistics No. 39, 2020). A similar pattern is seen in relation to access to cars, with 40% of household with annual incomes less than £10,000 having one or more cars, compared with 97% of households with annual incomes over £50,000 (Scottish Government: Long term monitoring of health inequalities, 2020).
Health and wellbeing
The negative health impacts of car use, including from poor air quality and road danger are recognised as disproportionately affecting those living in more deprived areas (Scottish Health and Inequality Impact Assessment Network: Health and Transport: A guide, 2018). General levels of health and wellbeing are also lower in more deprived areas, with higher prevalence of disease such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease (Scottish Government: Long term monitoring of health inequalities, 2020). People with these conditions can disproportionately benefit from reduced exposure to poor air quality as well as from increased opportunities for physical activity through active travel. Socio-economic disadvantage also increases people’s risk of social isolation (Public Health Scotland. Social isolation and loneliness in Scotland, 2018), and this can be compounded by transport poverty (Sustrans: Transport poverty in Scotland, 2016). Accessible, affordable transport can be important to help overcome this.
Lack of affordable transport can act as a key barrier to employment, and most importantly as a barrier to accessing good-quality employment. There can be additional challenges for those whose work involves non-standard working hours (i.e. standard public transport services may not be provided during anti-social hours and walking/cycling may be perceived to be unsafe during hours of darkness, or times of day when few other people are travelling). ‘In-work’ or working poverty is of particular concern in tackling poverty and the availability of affordable transport to work can be a key part of overcoming this (Scottish Government Communities Analysis Division, 2019; Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018).
Summary of assessment findings
Those on lower incomes are less likely to have access to, or use a car or cycle and less likely to use a train. They are as likely as those on higher incomes to walk and more likely to use a bus. Those living in more deprived areas are likely to have poorer levels of health and wellbeing and more likely to suffer from the adverse health impacts of car use, including air and noise pollution, which can compound pre-existing ill health, as well as from injury due to road danger. Opportunities for physical activity through safe and accessible active travel are particularly important for those with poor underlying health and wellbeing. Affordable transport is also essential to facilitate access to employment, including to better quality employment, as well as to enable social interaction and avoid loneliness and isolation which are more prevalent in deprived areas.
The route-map to car-use reduction will be of particular benefit to those on lower incomes/those living in more deprived areas as they are less likely to use car, but disproportionately suffer the negative impacts of others’ car use. Those on lower incomes will benefit from interventions to enable people to access services without the need to travel; improved local environments to enable access to key goods and services locally; greater access to and increased road space for use of alternative modes such as walking, cycling and bus; and facilitation of car sharing when active travel and public transport are less feasible.
How has the impact assessment shaped the policy
This impact assessment has considered the high-level impacts of the route map to reduce car-use, drawing on the impact assessments already conducted for the National Transport Plan 2 and the Climate Change Plan Update. As the route map was developed with the principle of a just transition at its core and an aim of reducing inequalities as an integral part of the route map itself, it is concluded that the route map itself will have a positive impact on reducing inequalities. A number of the individual policies that are set out in the route map will already have their own associated Fairer Scotland Duty impact assessments, and it is recognised that policies that are currently in the early stages of development will need to conduct further policy-level impact assessments as and when appropriate.
Fairer Scotland Duty impact assessments conducted at the individual policy level should build on the evidence set out in this impact assessment in order to consider if and how policies can be best tailored to meet the needs of those on low incomes and / or living in deprived communities. This is in line with the commitments set out in the National Transport Strategy (NTS2), including those to ensure sustainable, public and active travel access to employment, education and training location and to improve sustainable access to healthcare facilities for staff, patients and visitors.
Key areas for individual policies to consider as part of their Fairer Scotland Duty impact assessments include:
- Differences in the nature of employment between those on lower and higher incomes, recognising that lower-paid jobs may be less possible to work from home, and that people on lower incomes may be less likely to have home environments that are conducive to home-working; as well as well as some roles potentially being less compatible with standard operating hours of public transport, or potentially requiring travel as part of the job.
- Differences in access to technology and internet and implications for policies that support reducing the need to travel as well as policies that use technology to improve information about and access to public transport and shared mobility.
- Differences in quality and affordability of local goods and services in areas with different levels of deprivation and implications for policies that support the aim of living well locally.
- The geographical distribution of existing and proposed infrastructure to support active and sustainable modes in areas with different levels of deprivation.
- The cost to individuals of alternative modes of transport relative to the costs of car use, including the relative costs of access to and storage of cycles; the costs of public transport and the costs of any car-disincentivisation policies.
Recommendations and next steps
The route map has been developed with the aim of reducing inequalities. Evidence shows that the current status quo of car use has disproportionate negative impacts on those living in more deprived areas or in lower incomes, as they are less likely to have access to and therefore benefit from car use, but more likely to suffer the negative impacts of other people’s car use.
The ambition of the route map to make it easier and safer for people to access goods, services, amenities and social connections without the need for access to a private vehicle will therefore have a positive impact on those that the Fairer Scotland Duty seeks to protect. It is however recognised that the individual level policies set out as part of the route map will need to conduct their own Fairer Scotland Duty impact assessments, as and when appropriate, with areas for consideration at individual policy level have been set out in Section 3, above.
Questions have been included in a public consultation to gather information on the public perceptions of potential impacts of the draft route map on those at a socio-economic disadvantage. This includes a question considering what could be done to maximise positive impacts and mitigate negative impacts. Once the consultation closes, the results will be analysed and used to augment the draft Fairer Scotland Duty assessment accordingly.
Director of Transport Strategy and Analysis
11 January 2022