The NTS2 was first published in February 2020, with the first NTS2 Delivery Plan published in December 2020. Collectively, these documents set out to create an ambitious and compelling vision for our transport system covering the next two decades and outlined the four priorities for our transport system:

  • reduces inequalities;
  • takes climate action;
  • helps deliver inclusive economic growth; and
  • improves our health and wellbeing.

This second NTS2 Delivery Plan covers the period 2022 to 2023 and sets out the practical actions which are underway, or due to begin, across Scottish Government which will deliver the vision, providing a coordinated overview to our transport investments and projects. This NTS Delivery Plan provides a package of actions and interventions which support Scottish Governments vision and strategic themes. At a local level the Regional Transport Strategies and Delivery Plans provide a detailed overview of the regional and local priorities, projects, actions and services, aligned with the NTS priorities.

At the time of publication, the NTS2 recognised the need for its implementation to remain flexible in order to adapt to emerging and changing evidence.  As we reflect on the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 over two years later, this flexible approach remains. The Delivery Plan recognises the shared policy programme introduced in 2021 by the Scottish Government and the Green Party and the bold commitments made within this to further the outcomes within the NTS2 in response to the climate emergency.

Context and Opportunities

Throughout the pandemic there have been considerable changes to many people’s lives. This has ranged from increased working from home, an emphasis on local walking, wheeling and cycling trips, and significant changes for our public transport networks. Simultaneously there have been continued technological changes which have supported in transforming our cars, buses and trains through decarbonisation. The next ten years have been branded the “decisive decade” because of the imperative of acting at pace to address the climate crisis and to tackle social inequality. The decade ahead therefore presents us with opportunities to transform our transport system and the way we experience our roads, streets and neighbours and, in turn, enhance our significant economic, human and natural resources.

Figure 1: Sustainable Transport Hierarchy
Diagram illustrating the hierarchy of walking and wheeling, then cycling, then public transport, then taxis and shared transport being preferred to single occupancy car use

The NTS2 is a strategy for change. It recognises the key role that transport has in reducing inequalities, delivering inclusive economic growth, improving our health and wellbeing, and tackling the climate emergency. At the heart of the Strategy is the recognition that we need to deliver a step-change in behaviour and provide attractive, affordable, accessible and sustainable travel options. The actions to take forward the NTS2 are outlined in the regular Delivery Plans, such as this.

A significant amount of ongoing work is required to develop, appraise and prioritise the interventions in our Delivery Plans. This work is overseen by colleagues from across local, national and regional Government.

This second Plan continues to support the Sustainable Travel Hierarchy – promoting walking, cycling, public transport and bike, car and ride sharing in preference to single occupancy car use. We will continue to target investment in infrastructure, proactive promotion and improved co-ordination across all modes to achieve the necessary and generational change in behaviour and attitude towards transport choices; encouraging demand for active travel and low carbon transport options and encouraging multimodal journeys as the norm. In the year ahead we will publish National Planning Framework 4 and, in doing so, work with authorities to make progress on embedding the Sustainable Travel and Investment Hierarchies into their plans and decision making.

Our Vision and Priorities

Our Strategy is rooted in an ambitious and exciting vision for Scotland’s transport system.  The NTS2 advocates a vision for Scotland's transport system that will help create great places – a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system, helping deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors.

Our Strategy is for all of Scotland, recognising the different needs of our cities, towns, remote and rural areas and islands. It considers why we travel and how those trips are made, by including walking, wheeling, cycling, and travelling by bus, train, ferry, car, lorry and aeroplane.

This is a Strategy for all transport users: those travelling to, from and within Scotland.

Transforming our Engagement

Successful delivery on our vision cannot come through Government alone. The NTS2 was developed through collaboration and draws heavily on consultation with stakeholders from across Scotland. In 2021 we established the NTS2 Forum to support the continued delivery of the strategy. This includes the formation of three groups; the Peoples’ Panel which brings together individuals from across Scotland, the Business Group which includes  transport businesses and their representative organisations, and the Cross-Government Steering Group which consists of relevant policy leads and analysts across Scottish Government. The Forum collectively provides the overarching engagement platform, bringing together stakeholders to discuss the future of the transport system in Scotland and the four NTS2 priorities. We will be publishing the first report on the findings of the Peoples Panel later this year.

Evaluating our Progress

Key to understanding and evaluating the progress of the NTS2 over the short, medium and long term is to routinely monitor and report on progress towards its outcomes.

To support this outcome, we published our detailed strategy for Monitoring and Evaluating the impacts of NTS2 in August 2021. We will monitor and evaluate a number of indicators that span the four primary goals of the strategy. The indicators range from transport emissions to the proportion of short journeys made by active travel to transport related casualties, among many others. Where possible, these indicators are broken down and analysed by demographic and geographic variables to demonstrate how experiences of transport vary across society and to ensure that interventions are measured in terms of their impact on all people in Scotland. 

The first publication in this series is the Monitoring and Evaluation baseline report. This collates and summarises the data underpinning the primary and secondary indicators (where data is available) to establish a baseline against which progress can be monitored. In most cases, this involves an analysis of data from 2019 to provide a suitable ‘pre-pandemic’ baseline.

Transport Scotland has committed to reporting to Parliament on a three yearly basis, with the first of those reports due in 2023. In addition, we will also produce an annual report, providing data and analysis on progress towards the NTS2 outcomes.

Increasing Accountability

Our first Delivery Plan covered the period from 2020 to end-March 2022. Within this we committed to develop the future transport system for Scotland and consider the governance and collaboration structures required for this at local, regional and national level.

As part of this work, within the period 2021 to 2022 we have worked to review the remit and membership of the NTS2 Delivery Board. The Board consists of organisations with a shared responsibility to deliver the overall Strategy.  This includes Regional Transport Partnerships, who produce Regional Transport Strategies aligned with NTS2, along with local authorities.

We have reconvened the Transport Governance and Collaboration Working Group with representation from regional transport partnerships to take forward the further work required to determine the exact form of a regional model(s), allowing for spatial variation, and to develop proposals capable of implementation.

Investing for the Future

The Scottish Government’s 2016-2017 Programme for Government gave a commitment to review both the NTS2 and the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2). The NTS2 was published first in 2020, and the review of the strategic transport network’s performance has progressed since then to inform transport investment in Scotland for the next 20 years (2022-2042) by providing evidence-based recommendations on which Scottish Ministers can base future transport investment decisions.

STPR2 considers the transport needs of Scotland’s people and communities, and examines active travel (walking, wheeling, cycling), bus, ferry, rail and motorways and trunk roads as well as passenger and freight access to major ports and airports. These needs are reviewed from national and regional perspectives to reflect their different geographies, travel patterns and demands.

STPR2 Phase 1 made recommendations for investments or progression of interventions in the short-term (up to five years) the conclusion of the Review, will make recommendations for the period 2022 to 2042. In January 2022 we published a draft report alongside a 12-week public consultation, and the final report will be published later in 2022.

The outcomes from the review address the challenges we face with regards to the global climate emergency, and tackling net zero by identifying how and where we should make changes to our transport networks that will encourage more of our:

  • shorter everyday trips to be made by walking, wheeling and cycling
  • short to medium-length trips to be made by public transport
  • longer trips to be made by public transport and low emission vehicles.

These choices are built on the foundation of the sustainable investment hierarchy from NTS2 that focuses us firstly on:

  • Reducing the need to travel unsustainably, then
  • Maintaining and safely operating existing assets, then
  • Making better use of existing capacity, and finally
  • Targeted infrastructure improvements.

By focusing investment on sustainable transport options for individuals, families, communities and businesses, the STPR2’s recommendations will make it easier to access the transport networks and systems that Scotland will need to meet the challenges and changes over the next 20 years.

Mission Zero and Supporting a Just Transition

NTS2 is clear that, as we transition to net zero, we are committed to doing so in a way that is fair and in accordance with the Just Transition principles:

  • support environmentally, and socially sustainable jobs;
  • support low carbon investment and infrastructure;
  • develop and maintain social consensus through meaningful engagement with workers, communities, NGO’s business, industry and other relevant groups;
  • make all possible efforts to create decent, fair and high value work in a way that does not negatively affect the current workforce and overall economy; and
  • contribute to resource efficient and suitable economic approaches which help address inequality and poverty

The scale of transformation required through decarbonisation is unprecedented. We are working to embed the Just Transition principles through our policy development and actions to support the move to net zero. We need to make fundamental changes, not only in how and why we travel, but also in the sectors that support zero emission mobility – from energy generation and transmission through to vehicle manufacturing and energy storage solutions. 

Transport Scotland is investing in a net-zero transport system with ambitious targets to reduce transport carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 and to decarbonise completely by 2045.

We are committed to reducing car kilometres by 20% by 2030, decarbonising passenger rail services by 2035 and fully decarbonising scheduled flights in Scotland by 2040. We are phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and light vans as well as vehicles of all types in public sector fleets by 2030. 

‘Mission Zero’ creates new collaborations between Transport Scotland and partners across government, industry and academia to accelerate the development and deployment of the technologies required to meet these targets while identifying and seizing the economic opportunities that they present.

We are incentivising people and businesses to access new and used electric vehicles and delivering a publicly available charging network across the country. We are investing in innovation and developing zero-emission skills and engaging internationally – promoting our world-leading targets and sharing learning. Our collaborative approach will help Scotland thrive in a new zero emission economy.

Scotland is uniquely placed to expand its base of high value manufacturing across transport modes, supporting a workforce skilled in maintenance, installation, systems integration and engineering.  By capitalising on Scotland’s strengths in energy, natural capital and innovation, we can put ourselves at the forefront of growing global markets.

Through our Industry Advisory Group we are co-designing pathways for the decarbonisation of vehicle fleets.  That work has led to the establishment of the bus decarbonisation taskforce which has led us to reshape the way that public funding can leverage private sector investment to accelerate the adoption of zero emission buses; and the more recent establishment of a Zero Emission Truck Taskforce.  We are working in partnership with universities and companies in the supply chain on the development of zero emission trains to support the Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan, and we are developing an aviation strategy to realise our vision of national and international connectivity that allows us to enjoy the economic and social benefits of air travel while reducing our environmental impact.

With our Enterprise partners, we are investing in the products, infrastructure and skills of the future, today. Our broad support for innovation has an emphasis on development and testing for heavy and niche vehicles, energy system integration, rail, aviation, drivetrains and  battery innovation. In line with our Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan, coordinated through Skills Development Scotland, we are investing in zero-emission skills for our current and future workforces.

Equality Objectives

The NTS2’s vision for Scotland’s transport system relates directly to creating an inclusive and accessible transport system contributing to a more equitable society, with reducing inequalities underpinning the vision. A commitment to advancing equality of opportunities across protected characteristics is embedded in the strategic framework of the Strategy and is referenced directly in the Outcomes. Within the Equality Act 2010 sits the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) which requires the public sector to embed and promote equality throughout their processes with a view to advancing equality, tackling discrimination and fostering good relations. This has been supported through Scottish Specific Duties, introduced in 2012, designed to ensure that Scottish Ministers and public bodies give better effect to the PSED.

As part of the work to develop the NTS2, we conducted an impact assessment on the Strategy. We also carried out impact assessments on the first Delivery Plan, in tandem with policy level impact assessments in a number of areas including:

The people of Scotland have experienced unparalleled challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic continues to expose structural inequalities in our society and exacerbates the disproportionate impact on individuals and groups who already experience structural disadvantage. Additionally, the rapid increase in energy costs and the increases in inflation during the early months of 2022 will likely disproportionately impact on poorer households – further entrenching existing inequalities. These experiences have emphasised the importance of our work to mainstream and embed the reducing inequalities priority within our Strategy and actions.

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