6.1 INTRODUCTION

6 RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

6.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter will draw together the findings of the previous chapters and will conclude with a summary of the objectives identified Forth Replacement Crossing Study, together with the associated gaps and shortfalls.

6.2 RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

A review of current and emerging policy documents and action plans at national, regional and local level has enabled high level expectations to be identified for the performance of the Scottish transport network. In particular the recent publication of the NTS and associated Action Plans has provided significant direction. Overall, the policy review has identified that the high level expectations centre on the Government’s five key objectives of Economy; Integration; Safety; Environment; and Accessibility and Social Inclusion.

This policy review has identified a number of key priorities emerging from the documents, which apply to the wider Scotland area:

  • improving journey times and connections;
  • reducing emissions;
  • improving quality, accessibility and affordability;
  • promoting modal shift;
  • promoting new technologies and cleaner fuels;
  • managing demand;
  • reducing the need to travel;
  • improving services for all transport users; and
  • enhancing movement of freight by non-road modes.

SEStran and FETA’s aspirations for a replacement of the Forth crossing have also been considered. FETA has established two strategic aspirations for the next 10-20 years:

  • greater accessibility across the Forth for strategic movements to support a vibrant Scottish economy and promote strategic investment; and
  • more sustainable and reliable patterns of local movements across the Forth which can continue to support local and regional economies.

In addition, SEStran has identified that "any new crossing should be constructed to allow for future tram (and if possible heavy rail) use."

In the situation that an additional crossing is provided, SEStran outline:

  • "the combination of old and new crossings should provide no more than two lanes in each direction available to single-occupant cars;
  • all new traffic lanes across the Forth need to be dedicated to buses and high occupancy vehicles (HOVs). Consideration will be given to the possibility of allowing HGVs to access these lanes;
  • separate running lanes for the mixed use of buses, HOVs and possibly HGVs should be considered, but as far as possible flexibility should be maintained to enable full vehicle carrying capacity for traffic during periods of Bridge maintenance; and
  • the promoter should be required to put in place a demand management and investment package that will seek to ensure that traffic in Edinburgh will remain at or below the levels that would have been forecast without an additional crossing."

The high-level expectations outlined within this report have taken careful consideration of SEStran and FETA’s conditions for a replacement crossing.

In addition, it is important that the recommendations of the FRCS also recognise the tensions identified by the Scottish Executive between wanting strategic networks to both contribute to economic growth through providing better connections and at the same time, minimising the impact on the environment of the emissions associated with increased travel.

A review of relevant consultation has identified the key issues and opportunities arising in relation to the Forth Road Bridge and the Forth Bridge. This information, together with the high level expectations, has enabled the following objectives to be set specifically for the FRCS:

  • 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 have been agreed by the STPR project board.

6.3 IDENTIFICATION OF GAPS AND SHORTFALLS

The Transport Model for Scotland has been used to compare the network conditions in 2005 with forecast conditions in 2012, 2017 and 2022 for scenarios with only those infrastructure projects that are likely to be in place by those dates. It should be noted that these schemes are those that are expected to be in place by the forecast year. Where the schemes are not fully committed, this should not be taken as any form of commitment to those schemes by Scottish Ministers or Transport Scotland.

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 Table 6.1 below.

Table 6.1: 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 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. This conclusion is irrespective of the problems relating to the condition of the cables of the Forth Road Bridge identified in Report 1 and possible associated maintenance issues.

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 FRCS. However, the first objective above appears to be the key to achieving the high level expectations of this study. If the level of service is not maintained, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the other objectives.