INTRODUCTION CURRENT AND EMERGING POLICIES CONSULTATION DEVELOPMENT OF OBJECTIVES GAPS AND SHORTFALLS PRIORITY FRAMEWORK OVERALL CONCLUSION THE WAY FORWARD

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

The Scottish Executive and Transport Scotland are investing more than £3 billion on transport infrastructure projects to 2012, across all modes of transport. This includes providing funding for local authorities and their partners to improve transport.

Scottish Ministers are committed to a Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) and Jacobs supported by Faber Maunsell were commissioned by Transport Scotland to provide technical advice to the study. In conjunction with the main study there is a Forth Replacement Crossing Study (FRCS) which due to concerns over cable corrosion on the existing Forth Road Bridge is being undertaken in a shorter timescale to the STPR.

This report focuses specifically on establishing the high level expectations for transport network performance on and in the vicinity of, the Forth Road and Rail Bridges, over the ten year period from 2012 taking cognisance of the emerging Government policies and action plans and associated consultation. These high level expectations have been used to determine strategic transport network objectives and consequently identify disparity between desired and forecast performance levels, such that potential interventions can be identified and prioritised.

CURRENT AND EMERGING POLICIES

A comprehensive review of current and emerging policies and action plans at national, regional and local levels was undertaken. At a national level, Scotland’s Transport Future (Scottish Executive, June 2004) outlines an overall aim "to promote economic growth, social inclusion, health and protection of our environment through a safe, integrated, effective and efficient transport system".

The National Transport Strategy (NTS) (Scottish Executive, December 2006) considers Scotland’s transport needs and the needs of travellers over the medium to long-term and sets the framework for the STPR and will determine the Scottish Executive’s future infrastructure investment. Three key strategic outcomes are identified within the NTS:

  • improve 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;
  • reduce 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
  • improve quality and accessibility and tackle affordability, to give people a choice of public transport where availability means better quality public transport services and value for money or an alternative to the car.

Published at the same time as the NTS are the following associated documents, which provide additional focus on certain aspects of the Scotland’s transport network, these have been produced in the form of a series of Action Plans:

Moving Into The Future: An Action Plan For Buses in Scotland (Scottish Executive, December 2006) sets out the Scottish Executive’s aims and objectives in relation to bus services in Scotland and specifies measures required to support and improve bus services throughout Scotland. The Action Plan acts as an associated document to the NTS and sets out the high-level expectations for Buses in Scotland are as follows:

  • to improve bus services through effective transport planning;
  • to support the development of the bus industry in Scotland; and
  • to support effective implementation of the Regulatory Regime.

Scotland’s Railways (Scottish Executive, December 2006) sets out the Scottish Executive’s aims and objectives for the rail industry in Scotland and acts as an associated document to the NTS.

It is recognised that rail has a central role within the NTS and, as such, the vision for the railway in Scotland is that it should provide "a safe, reliable customer-focused service that supports our economy and delivers wider social inclusion and environmental aspirations."

Potential developments or enhancements to the rail network will contribute to the delivery of the strategic outcomes identified in the NTS as follows:

  • improving journey times and connections;
  • reducing emissions; and
  • improving quality, accessibility and affordability.

It is recognised that by investing in the rail network, a contribution can also be made to reducing road congestion and harmful emissions and also reducing the impact of transport on the environment.

Preparing for Tomorrow, Delivering Today: Freight Action Plan For Scotland (Scottish Executive, November 2006) sets out the Scottish Executive’s aims and objectives for the freight industry in Scotland and acts as an associated document to the NTS. The Action Plan supports the NTS and, in turn, the Framework for Economic Development in Scotland, Scotland’s Sustainable Development Strategy, Scotland’s Climate Change Programme and the Air Quality Strategy.

The Freight Action Plan for Scotland highlights the importance of freight, stating that "the efficient and competitive movement of goods through the entire supply chain is therefore a key element in meeting consumer demand and supporting and enabling economic growth."

The Freight Action Plan identifies the following high level expectations:

  • to enhance Scotland’s competitiveness;
  • to support the development of the freight industry in Scotland;
  • to maintain and improve the accessibility of rural and remote areas;
  • to minimise the adverse impact of freight movements on the Environment in particular through the reduction in emission and noise; and
  • to ensure freight transport policy integration.

The NTS and associated documents were published in December 2006 and are therefore considered to be particularly relevant to this study, together with the regional and local policies.

Broadly similar high level objectives were concurrent through all policy levels: to promote economic growth, social inclusion, health and protection of the environment through a safe, integrated, effective and efficient transport system. Key priorities were identified to promote modal shift and raise awareness of the need to change; promote new technologies and cleaner fuels; manage demand; reduce the need to travel; deliver reliable journey times for all road users; improve services for all transport users; and enhance movements of freight by non-road modes.

In the Regional Transport Strategy developed by the South East Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran) there were specific requirements for a new crossing to include: provision for future tram or heavy rail use; a maximum of two lanes in either direction for single occupancy vehicles (i.e. matching the existing capacity); new lanes dedicated to buses, high occupancy vehicles (HOVs) and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs); flexibility to enable full vehicle carrying capacity during maintenance periods; and demand management measures to ensure traffic levels in Edinburgh remain below those forecast without an additional crossing.

CONSULTATION

The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) Local Transport Strategy (LTS) and SEStran Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) were the subject of a detailed consultation process. This informed major stakeholders and members of the public about the draft documents and proposals and it provided the opportunity to comment in a variety of ways.

The results of the consultation identified a perception that many transport problems in the area originate from a lack of integration between land use and transport planning and between health and transport policies. A number of barriers to cross-Forth public transport use, attributable primarily to lack of direct services and reliability, speed and cost were identified and top priority measures included public transport investment; implementation of multi-modal crossing; increased public transport integration and a requirement for queue management / tolling regime.

DEVELOPMENT OF OBJECTIVES

Identification of the high level expectations from emerging and current policies and action plans, together with the key issues arising from relevant consultations, enabled the development of a number of specific transport planning objectives for the FRCS, as follows:

  • maintain cross-Forth transport links for all modes to at least the level of service offered in 2006;
  • connect to the strategic transport network to aid optimisation of the network as a whole;
  • improve the reliability of journey times for all modes;
  • increase travel choices and improve integration across modes to encourage modal shift of people and goods;
  • improve accessibility and social inclusion;
  • minimise the impacts of maintenance on the effective operation of the transport network;
  • support sustainable development and economic growth; and
  • minimise the impact on people, the natural and cultural heritage of the Forth area.

These objectives were initially developed at a one-day Inception Workshop held on 27 September 2006 with representatives of Transport Scotland, Jacobs and Faber Maunsell and were presented and agreed at a Project Board meeting held on 11 October 2006.

GAPS AND SHORTFALLS

Performance Indicators identified in Report 1 were examined and linked to the appropriate transport planning objective.

The Transport Model for Scotland was then used to measure how the base and forecast conditions in 2005, 2012, 2017 and 2022 performed against each transport planning objective. The scenarios included only those infrastructure projects that are likely to be in place by those dates. It should be noted that these predicted conditions do not take account of many of the proposals put forward by the SEStran Regional Transport Strategy as these are not committed. However, these proposals will be assessed in later reports.

It must be emphasised that this report does not deal with solutions to perceived problems. These are dealt with in later reports.

The Performance Indicators selected in Report 1 of this study were reviewed and the most appropriate selected as quantitative measures for each objective. The use of these indicators identified any gaps and shortfalls between the future performance and expectations of the transport network in the vicinity of the Forth bridges in 2012, 2017 and 2022. The results are presented in chapter five and summarised in the table below.

Summary of Assessment

Objective

Measurement

Assessment

Maintain cross-Forth transport links for all modes to at least the level of service offered in 2006

Road journey times

Not met

Bus journey times

Not met

Rail crowding cross-Forth

Not met

Connect to the strategic transport network to aid optimisation of the network as a whole

Average road speeds

Not met

Improve the reliability of journey times for all modes

Number of vehicle hours between J4 of the M90 and Echline Roundabout below free-flow speed

Not met

Increase travel choices and improve integration across modes to encourage modal shift of people and goods

Public transport mode share across the Forth

Not met

Improve accessibility and social inclusion

Road journey times between areas of deprivation and major employment centres

Not met

Public transport journey times between areas of deprivation and major employment centres

Not met

Minimise the impacts of maintenance on the effective operation of the transport network

Total annual average weekday flow on the Forth Road Bridge

Not met

Annual average weekday HGV flow across the Forth Road Bridge

Not met

Minimise the impact on people, the natural and cultural heritage of the Forth area

Pollutant emissions from transport in the SEStran area.

Not met (CO2)

Support sustainable development and economic growth

Pollutant emissions from transport in the SEStran area.

Not met (CO2)

Annual average weekday HGV flow across the Forth Road Bridge

Not met

Public transport mode share across the Forth

Not met

Total annual average weekday flow on the Forth Road Bridge

Not met

Number of vehicle hours between J4 of the M90 and Echline Roundabout below free-flow speed

Not met

It can be concluded based on the appraisal within this report that without intervention in the transport network over and above that currently planned, the objectives of the Forth Replacement Crossing Study will not be met.

PRIORITY FRAMEWORK

A framework for prioritisation is being developed for the main STPR study, which will have to prioritise projects over a wide variety of types of interventions in geographically diverse areas. Where relevant this will be applied to the Forth Replacement Crossing study. However, at this stage the existing STAG based methodology is considered an appropriate priority framework for this element of the commission.

OVERALL CONCLUSION

This report has considered in detail the current and emerging policies that are relevant to STPR and in particular the FRCS. The recently published NTS and associated documents have been particularly important in guiding the development of the study objectives which have also drawn extensively on previous work undertaken by both SEStran and FETA. The report also considers the consultation that has already taken place in the development of current policy and that undertaken directly as part of this study.

Following careful consideration of these two aspects (current/emerging policy and consultation) a number of study specific "SMART" objectives have been developed and tested within the relevant reference groups. This has led to the setting of a final set of study objectives which will guide future work in the latter phases of this project.

The report concludes by presenting specific performance indicators used to identify any gaps and shortfalls between the future performance and the expectations of the transport network in the vicinity of the Forth bridges. The concept of a prioritised framework for the SMART objectives identified in the report is also discussed.

THE WAY FORWARD

This work package has largely been an information gathering exercise, which has helped in setting the study’s objectives, it has gone on to identify the existing gaps and shortfalls in relation to the available performance indicators. The future reports of the Forth Replacement Crossing Study will be:

  • Report 3: Option Generation and Sifting;
  • Report 4: Appraisal; and
  • Report 5: Final Report.

Option Generation and Sifting for the Forth Replacement Crossing Study will be identified in Report 3. The sifting of potential options will be linked to the Objectives in this report, in order to give an initial assessment of how the current and forecast situations compare with the aims of the Study.