Draft Island Communities Impact Assessment - A route map to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in car kilometres by 2030

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


Minister for Transport, Mr Graeme Dey

Summary of aims and expected outcomes of 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 Scotland: Transport Strategy and Analysis


Transport Climate Change and Just Transition

Screening - is the strategy likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities

Section 7 of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 outlines relevant authorities’ duty to have regard to island communities in carrying out its functions. Section 8 of this Act requires the Scottish Ministers, as a relevant authority, to prepare an Island Communities Impact Assessment in relation to a policy, strategy, or service, which, in the authority's opinion, is likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities.

The National Islands Plan, published December 2019, sets out 13 Strategic Objectives which are critical to improving the quality of life for island communities. Strategic Objective 3 is to improve transport services which are recognised to be of great importance to island communities and are a key factor in the ability of individual residents to, for example, access services and enjoy fundamental human rights. Island communities face many different transport challenges when carrying out their daily lives compared to those living in less rural areas of the mainland and urban areas.

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. Impacts on those living in island communities areas have therefore been considered throughout the route map development and intervention selection process, as part of our commitment to a just transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The route map is not specific to particular groups, businesses, or geographies but is designed to provide options to empower everyone to contribute to the national commitment to reduce car kilometres. It does however recognising that there will be some groups of people, including some of those in some island communities, where car use reduction may be more challenging, particularly in the short-term. 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.

Summary of information gathered

Engagement with island communities was undertaken as part of the development of National Transport Strategy (NTS2), shortly prior to the development of the car reduction route map. The engagement as part of NTS2 identified the following unique transport challenges relevant to island communities:

  • Centralisation of public transport and limited provision in peripheral areas
  • Poor journey connections, lack of seamlessness and lack of ticket integration
  • Car dependencies due to poor public transport links
  • Insufficient active travel infrastructure on islands
  • Limited evening and weekend public transport services, resulting in difficulties accessing services and participating in social/community activities
  • Incoherent, inconsistent and confusing public transport timetables across all modes
  • The ability of public transport to meet the needs and expectations of tourists and visitors, especially to Scotland’s islands
  • Higher costs of accessibility on islands and in rural areas
  • Imbalance of service provision and demand to meet concessionary transport needs
  • Call for more flexible and pro-active support needed for the berthing of cruise ships at ports.

Further details are reported in the NTS2 Delivery Plan Island Communities Impact Assessment.

Description of the likely significantly different effect of the strategy

The draft route map for car-use reduction is a national level route-map and therefore not designed to necessarily address the unique transport challenges relevant to island communities. It does however recognise the importance of ensuring that the local benefits of car-reduction, including the health, social and economic benefits of reduced air and noise pollution; reduced road danger; increased opportunities for active travel; decreased community severance; and reduced congestion; are extended to those living in island communities as well as those on the mainland. The route-map has therefore been developed by identifying a range of policies and interventions that will support individuals to reduce car use in a range of ways that go beyond simply switching from car to public transport or active travel. Policies have been identified to support individuals to reduce their car use by:

  • Reducing the need to travel, using online services where appropriate
  • Living well locally, accessing goods and services locally where possible
  • Switching mode, to active travel or public transport where possible
  • Combining or sharing trips, to reduce the total distance travelled by car

How has the impact assessment shaped the policy

It is recognised that in island communities interventions to support a reduced need to travel and more local living, as well as those to facilitate combined or shared trips may be more relevant than interventions to support switching of modes.

The route map, which seeks to achieve a national-level reduction in car kilometres of 20 per cent and not a uniform reduction in car use across all geographical areas, is not anticipated to impact on island communities in a significantly different way than on other communities across Scotland. This is because the breadth of interventions set out within the route map can be harnessed and tailored at a local level, so that interventions more relevant to island communities can be adopted in those locations, while interventions that are less beneficial in those geographical areas do not necessarily need to be adopted.

This ICIA has considered impacts at the level of the route map itself, and acknowledges that individual ICIAs should be conducted on the interventions set out within the route map, as an when appropriate. This will enable individual policy interventions to be adapted to best meet the needs of island communities, in line with the National Transport Strategy (NTS2) policy to minimise the connectivity and cost disadvantages faced by island communities and those in remote rural and rural areas, including safeguarding of lifeline services.

Recommendations and next steps

The route map sets out a range of interventions to support people to make more sustainable travel choices wherever possible, but does not require all individuals or geographical areas to make the same percentage reduction in car use. This means that the route map is not likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities. The range of sustainable travel behaviours and supporting interventions have been deliberately chosen to be inclusive of people living in a range of different geographical locations, so that those in places such as island communities, where there may be fewer opportunities to ‘switch mode’ can still contribute to and benefit from car use reduction through one of the alternative sustainable travel behaviours of: reducing travel by making use of online alternatives where appropriate; choosing local destinations were possible; and combining trips or sharing car journeys were car remains the only feasible option.

Questions have been included in a public consultation to gather information on the public perceptions of potential impacts of the draft route map on Island Communities. 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 inform augment the draft ICIA accordingly.

Sign off

Fiona Brown
Director of Transport Strategy and Analysis
11 January 2022

Published Date 13 Jan 2022 Type Mode of transport Topic