Engagement approach


The purpose of the public engagement activity was to present the preferred route option that has been selected as the permanent, LTS and explain and seek feedback on the next steps to deliver this solution for road users of the A83 Rest and Be Thankful and local communities.

The Access to Argyll and Bute (A83) public engagement activity ran between 2 June and 28 July 2023 and included a blended approach, involving four public exhibitions and a virtual exhibition room.

A package of engagement materials was developed in a style that was accessible and conveyed the technical detail on the proposals required to make an informed response to the feedback form.

Approach to engagement

Transport Scotland engaged with a number of statutory and regulatory stakeholders during the DMRB assessment process and prior to the preferred route option exhibitions which included the Environmental Steering Group and the A83 Taskforce. This approach will continue through the subsequent stages of the scheme.

The approach centred on providing clear and concise information to enable consultees to form their views, as well as reducing risk of potential objection or challenge. The aim is to provide a feedback-led approach, keeping in mind the importance of purposeful and efficient data analysis from the outset.

The aim of the engagement was to gain stakeholder feedback on the preferred route option for the permanent, LTS and ensure that local knowledge and insights continue to be considered during the design process.

The engagement activity effectively used Transport Scotland’s dedicated A83 Story Map, social media platforms, press releases, advertisements, and scheme email address to promote the public exhibitions and virtual exhibition room. Detailed materials describing the proposals were made accessible online and in alternative formats as needed. Public exhibitions and a virtual exhibition room were available, allowing the public and stakeholders to gain comprehensive insights into the preferred route option. Valuable feedback was collected through feedback forms and written responses, ensuring a thorough and inclusive engagement.

Engagement activity materials

A range of materials were prepared to help people interpret the preferred route option, while the public exhibitions were promoted extensively via a variety of communication channels to raise awareness and encourage participation. All materials were available between 2 June to 28 July and can be found in Appendix A. To ensure the information remained accessible, the virtual exhibition room was kept open until the 8 December 2023 where the information was then moved to the A83 Story Map.


An A4, eight-page colour brochure summarised the proposed scheme, including the background, an update on the Access to Argyll and Bute (A83), information on the preferred route option and next steps. Information on how stakeholders could share their views and contact the team for information was also included. A QR code linked to the virtual exhibition room was also included on the brochure. Copies of the brochure were available at the public exhibitions, the virtual exhibition room and in the library in Campbeltown.

Exhibition boards

Fourteen exhibition boards were created and displayed at both the public exhibitions, the virtual exhibition room and in the library in Campbeltown. These boards included the following information:

  • welcome information
  • background to the scheme
  • scheme objectives
  • scheme assessment
  • scheme options
  • assessment process
  • preferred route option
  • preferred route option plan
  • medium-term solution
  • what happens next
  • comments and feedback


An A4, colour poster was produced to promote the public exhibitions for the preferred route option and to encourage people to visit the virtual exhibition room. The poster was distributed to libraries, customer service points, community halls, education centres, shops and cafes in Lochgilphead, Arrochar and Campbeltown.

Feedback form

The feedback form was designed to gather views and feedback on the preferred route option. It acted as the primary feedback tool and included two open questions as below:

  • we would appreciate your feedback on the preferred route option for the permanent, long-term solution
  • please provide any additional information here.

The feedback form was made available online through the virtual exhibition room, in hard copy at the public exhibitions and in the library in Campbeltown. A postal address was also provided for respondents to return their completed forms if they preferred not to use the online form – Atkins WSP Joint Venture, 110 Queen Street, Glasgow, G1 3BX.


A pre-recorded webinar was produced which featured representatives from Transport Scotland and the AWJV. The webinar provided an overview of the scheme, details of the preferred route option, next steps and promoted the public exhibitions dates. The webinar was also available in the virtual exhibition room.

Virtual exhibition room

The PinPoint Connect All virtual exhibition room saw approximately 3,700 (unique) visitors viewing the materials over the engagement period. The exhibition room included digital copies of the exhibition boards, brochure, feedback form and a 3-dimensional fly-through visualisation of the preferred route option. It also included the full DMRB Stage 2 Report (part of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges), which provides a full summary of the assessment.

The virtual exhibition immediately went live with the announcement on the 2 June until it was closed on 8 December 2023 where the relevant material was moved to the A83 Story Map.

The virtual exhibition room was available at www.pinpointcloud.co.uk/accesstoargyllandbuteA83

A83 Story Map

The A83 Story Map is the dedicated and bespoke scheme website designed to provide continual update on the scheme as it develops. The Story Map now includes information on the preferred route option, details of the public exhibitions and link to the virtual exhibition room.

Preferred route option visualisation

A 3-dimensional fly-through visualisation of the preferred route option was produced to bring to life the design of the debris flow shelter and catch pit on the A83 Rest and Be Thankful.

The visualisation was housed on Transport Scotland’s YouTube channel and displayed in the virtual exhibition room before being moved to the A83 Story Map. The video received over 2,100 views during the community engagement activity from 2 June to 28 July.

Public exhibitions

Four in-person public exhibitions were held to give the public an opportunity to view the exhibition material which included details of the preferred route option, speak with project team members and provide feedback. The exhibition materials included the exhibition boards, copies of the project brochure, 3d visualisation and feedback forms available at the exhibitions. These events were promoted via the A83 Story Map, Transport Scotland webpage, social media channels and newspaper adverts in local press.

The in-person exhibitions were held at:

  • Arrochar Village Hall, Shore Road, Arrochar – 12 and 13 June 2023
  • Lochgilphead Baptist Church, Union Street, Lochgilphead – 14 and 15 June 2023

In addition to the feedback form being accessible online, Transport Scotland offered other methods for respondents to provide feedback including:

  • a paper copy of the feedback form to be posted
  • a copy of the feedback form in larger print
  • a copy of the feedback form to be sent in Braille format
  • an audio recording of the content included in the feedback form
  • the feedback form in another language
  • contacting via email, telephone or social media
  • attending the public exhibitions or virtual exhibition room

These additional communication measures aimed to increase inclusivity and accessibility during the engagement process, ensuring that anyone who desired to take part could do so in a way that suited them.

Engaging with key stakeholders

The scheme email address A83@WSP.com was used to contact stakeholders, respond to queries and capture feedback as part of the engagement activity period.

A telephone line 0131 316 8293 was also available to receive any phone queries. The phone number was included on the exhibition boards, brochure and feedback form. This number was staffed during business hours directly linking the caller to the project team.

Emails were sent out on the day of the preferred route option announcement to the identified stakeholders (see Appendix B) to make them aware that a preferred route option had been selected and that public exhibitions were being held and that the virtual exhibition room was live. A copy of the email can be found in Appendix G.

Stakeholders who registered at the public exhibitions included:

  • Arrochar and Tarbet Community Development Trust.
  • Arrochar Community Council
  • Arrochar Community Hydro
  • Local councillors
  • Members of Argyll and Bute Council
  • Forestry Land Scotland
  • Local businesses
  • Friends of Loch Lomond and Trossachs
  • Lochgoilhead Community Trust
  • Nature Scot
  • RABT Campaign Group


A range of channels were used to raise awareness of the engagement activities and encourage participation from the local community and wider stakeholders who may have had an interest in the preferred route option. Channels used to promote this were:

Press articles

Adverts that promoted the public exhibition dates and provided a QR code which linked to the virtual exhibition room were placed in the Argyllshire Advertiser, Campbeltown Courier, the Oban Times and the online version of the Oban Times.

A copy of the newspaper adverts can be found in Appendix C.

Social media

Information promoting the public exhibitions and virtual exhibition room were posted on Transport Scotland’s social channels. The posts included information on the start and end of the engagement activity, reminders for the dates and locations of the events and how to provide feedback.

Examples of the social media posts can be found in Appendix D.


Posters featuring details regarding the public exhibitions and a QR code which directed people to the virtual exhibition room were distributed within the local area to:

  • libraries
  • council customer service points
  • village halls
  • community education centres.

A full list of those who received posters can be found in Appendix B.

A copy of the poster can be found in Appendix E.


A dedicated scheme email address A83@WSP.COM was used to contact stakeholders, respond to queries and capture feedback as part of the engagement. A member of the AWJV engagement team managed the email inbox to ensure emails received were managed.

Emails were sent out to the identified stakeholders as outlined in Appendix B.

Other promotion

Posters promoting the public exhibitions and paper copies of the exhibition boards were available at Campbeltown Library until 28 July.

Response analysis methodology

The engagement activity generated a substantial volume of data, including both online and hard copy responses to the feedback form, as well as emails. A robust process was put in place to manage the number of responses received.

Feedback forms

The online feedback form was hosted on Smart Survey and accessed via the virtual exhibition room and the Transport Scotland website. Responses to the online feedback form were processed directly through this portal, while all data from paper copies of the feedback form, including verbatim responses to open questions, was processed manually.

Data entry staff adhered to a thorough process to ensure accuracy and consistency. The quality checking procedure involved 100% verification; wherein all the entered data was reviewed by a different operator. Where any inconsistencies were identified, the entries were checked against the original questionnaire and the correct data recorded.

The combined dataset was downloaded into a spreadsheet and further logic and range checks were completed prior to analysis. Microsoft Excel and GIS mapping software were both used to analyse the data, with the results of this analysis presented in the series of charts, tables and maps within this report.

Coding of free text responses

The feedback form contained two open questions inviting free text responses which allow respondents to write whatever they like. Such data is complex to analyse and interpret but provides valuable additional insight into respondents’ opinions.

The free text responses required further processing, or ‘coding’, whereby statements within comment boxes are translated into a series of numeric codes to identify common themes and enable the categorisation of the comments. These codes were then analysed quantitively to identify the most frequently recurring areas of comment.

A code frame is a list of the codes which represent the different themes and areas of comment raised by respondents and is outlined in Appendix F. This is created by reviewing a large sample of the responses and identifying common themes and areas of comment, each code is given a unique number. The code frame for this engagement activity underwent a series of reviews during the analysis to ensure that any new codes that emerged in the data were incorporated. The coding of responses was subject to a series of quality assurance checks to ensure consistency and accuracy throughout the process.

Other written responses

Emails received from individuals or groups and organisations were reviewed for content and key themes identified. The key themes have been summarised and included in chapter 4 of this report.