3 Strategic Transport Issues

Scotland’s Strategic Transport Network

3.1 The principal focus for most movements in Scotland, whether people or freight, is in, around and between its cities. A review of Scotland’s cities carried out in 200215 noted that "cities are our major points of economic activity and social interaction" and it goes on to state that "transport is central to the economic, social and environmental future of Scotland’s cities".

3.2 The economic draw of Scotland’s cities extends their influence over a wide area; this is recognised through the consideration of the role of City-Regions in many policy documents, such as the National Planning Framework. Travel to work is particularly important. Such movements are focused along key radial routes, many of which coincide with routes linking the cities. These corridors are key parts of the national strategic transport network.

3.3 The STPR is not focused solely on the cities or their connections. Scotland is a diverse nation and the accessibility of remoter areas is also vitally important. Consequently, the links to these areas, including road and rail connections to lifeline and gateway ferry ports, are included in the Review.

3.4 The STPR has considered 20 strategic corridors linking the urban networks and strategic nodes and the country as a whole. The review is targeted specifically at the road and rail links along these corridors. While the links to and from ports and airports are a vital part of this strategic network, the STPR has considered only the land-based access, and has not covered the air and sea links themselves. The corridors, urban networks and strategic nodes covered by the STPR are illustrated on the following page.

Functions of the Strategic Transport Network

3.5 The National Transport Strategy recognised the critical importance of providing efficient road and rail links between Scotland’s cities, stating that "our strategic networks are particularly important for connecting our cities, connecting our towns with cities and bringing people and goods to those cities". The Strategy also recognised that strategic networks are "critical for providing key routes into our wider regions, including the Highlands and Islands, to our regeneration areas, to England and to global markets to contribute to the accessibility of Scotland as a whole through road, rail and port connections. This means the strategic networks have a particular role in providing for the longer intercity and inter-region journeys."

3.6 In the context of the STPR, the primary transport functions for the national strategic transport network are defined as:

  • Linking major urban centres and areas of population change;
  • Providing links to international gateways, airports, ports and borders;
  • Linking remoter communities;
  • Linking key tourist areas;
  • Facilitating freight routes; and
  • Linking areas of economic activity and regeneration areas of national significance.

map graphic

Future Demand for Transport

3.7 An effective transport system is a key factor in promoting economic development. In Scotland, the transport system must accommodate the varying demands of the nation, both now and into the future. Scotland’s cities are major economic drivers, with relatively high value employment and dynamic business sectors. The remoter areas play different roles in agriculture, tourism and high value exports. Furthermore, Scotland’s population is forecast to rise over the period covered by the STPR, with expected net in-migration16. This growth will bring differing pressures as demand for travel and pressures on the road and rail networks change through time.

3.8 The STPR has involved in-depth forecasting work to assess future travel demand and the consequential impacts on the transport network. This starts with population and employment forecasts relating to expectations that were developed in recent years as part of local, regional and national planning processes. It should be noted that the forecasts have been developed in a manner that ensures realistic forecasts at a total national level with a consistent view of the expected distribution of this future population and employment: this may not always be entirely consistent with the full implications of all local development aspirations.

3.9 The land use and development expectations have been assessed using the Transport, Economic and Land-use Model of Scotland (TELMoS) planning model and observed current travel behaviour to forecast trip generation and thus travel demand across the country. The impact of this demand on the strategic transport network has then been assessed using the Transport Model for Scotland (TMfS) transport demand and supply model.

3.10 As part of the development of the STPR travel demand forecasts and consideration of future issues, many different data sources have been used to provide detailed information on all aspects of travel on the strategic network. These include:

  • The Transport Model for Scotland;
  • Rail industry data on rail passenger patronage and Network Rail Documents;
  • Published regional and national transport statistics;
  • Transport Scotland / Scottish Government Policy Documents and associated studies;
  • Congestion monitoring reports;
  • Scottish Roads Traffic Database;
  • Scottish Transport Statistics;
  • Transport Scotland’s Road Information System;
  • Transport Scotland’s Accident Database;
  • Local and Regional Transport Strategies;
  • Scottish Household Surveys and Public transport user surveys;
  • Other data and reports produced on behalf of Public transport operators;
  • Environmental mapping; and
  • The Environmental module from the Transport Model for Scotland.

3.11 In summary, the analysis shows that the greatest population and employment increases between 2012 and 2022 are expected to be in the Central Belt, particularly in and around Edinburgh. In addition, significant growth in levels of both population and employment are forecast in the Inverness area, particularly to the east of the city. Other parts of Scotland are also planning for population increase, although in general, the pattern of population distribution across Scotland will remain similar to the existing distribution for some time to come.

3.12 Within some urban areas, there is some move of population to peripheral locations. This dispersal of homes and jobs to the edges of cities may lead to increases in travel demand, over and above that from economic growth alone, as the average distance between the origins and destinations of trips increases. It is also likely to have an impact on travel patterns, particularly for commuting and business journeys: the traditional, radial routes served by public transport are less likely to meet the emerging travel needs of a redistributed population, in which case the private car could provide a more attractive alternative.

3.13 At the same time, as the nation becomes generally more prosperous, car ownership would be expected to rise. Coupled with this, longer commutes and greater reliance on the car for accessing dispersed homes and jobs risk leading to greater car usage. This may therefore result in greater demand for travel by car on the road network, with the potential to adversely affect road freight movements and bus travel (although this would also be expected to generate increased demand for rail travel).

3.14 Overall demand for transport, in terms of vehicle trips, is forecast to increase by 19 per cent between 2005 and 2022. Demand for rail travel is forecast to increase by more than this, with an underlying growth (not including the generative effect of planned rail improvements) of around 47 per cent, but bus demand is forecast to fall over the same period, leading to a forecast decline of three per cent in the overall usage of public transport17.

3.15 Regeneration areas will focus on sustaining economic activity in local communities, providing a more even spread of activity across the country. Similarly, plans for substantial development in areas away from the Central Belt, such as in the vicinity of Inverness, provide stability and opportunity locally. Given the size of Scotland’s urban areas, the locations of new major employment or shopping facilities will have significant impacts on the local demand for transport and distribution of traffic.

Alternative Future Scenarios

3.16 The planning data assumptions used in TELMoS are broad estimates that will be influenced by evolving circumstances. Any significant change in economic circumstances (e.g. significant in-migration, a major new oil or gas discovery, identification of a new regeneration zone) could not only alter local impacts on the network but could have ramifications well beyond the immediate vicinity. While the TMfS provides a consistent basis for examination of likely operation of the transport system, and therefore a framework for assessing various interventions, it must be recognised that the results from the model will be dependent on the inputs fed into it.

3.17 The inputs used in the STPR assessments represent just one possible scenario of the future. In appraising potential interventions, and more particularly the way in which these support economic development and social inclusiveness, the impact of a number of different scenarios have been considered. The factors affecting these scenarios include future economic growth, different possible land use planning assumptions, and the possibility of higher prices for fuel than currently assumed — e.g. through oil price increases or through introduction of carbon related taxes.

Economic Growth and Planning Assumptions

3.18 One of the drivers of transport demand in TELMoS is the forecast growth of the Scottish economy in terms of gross value added (GVA). The effect on transport demand resulting from any change to this assumed GVA growth would depend on the extent to which the variation in growth is split between additional employment and additional productivity.

3.19 The main effect of a revised GVA outcome in terms of the forecast transport issues in STPR and of the assessment of transport interventions would be one of timing rather than a fundamental shift in conclusions. An overall slow-down in the economy would allow timescales for the interventions to be extended slightly, while faster economic growth across the period would lead to pressure for faster implementation of the interventions.

3.20 Changes to the detailed land-use planning assumptions within TELMoS, on the other hand, could lead to some re-prioritisation of the schemes recommended. For example, the STPR modelling has assumed some specific areas of high population growth. If the planning pressures were to change in such a manner that encouraged high growth to occur elsewhere, then this might tend to bring forward the requirement for schemes in this new area of high growth.

Fuel Price and Tax Assumptions

3.21 The price of fuel in the UK is closely related to the price of oil with the price of petrol increasing as oil prices increase (with a short time delay). Analysis suggests that a doubling of oil prices for example would lead to a 36 per cent increase in the price of a litre of petrol, allowing for the effects of fuel duty and refining costs.

3.22 Clearly, the volume of traffic (as measured by vehicle kilometres travelled) would be influenced by such a change in the price of fuel. However, research18 suggests that demand is likely to be relatively inelastic (i.e. a given percentage increase in the price of fuel leads to a rather smaller percentage change in volume of traffic). A 36 per cent fuel price increase over central forecast levels would imply a long-run reduction in vehicle kilometres of only just over ten per cent compared to the central forecasts — i.e. halving the central growth forecast of 19 per cent increase. It would be expected that this level of fuel price increase would produce rather faster rail growth than forecast, increasing rail demand by slightly less than ten per cent above central forecast levels.

3.23 In spite of higher fuel prices, growth in vehicle trips over the forecast period would still be expected. As with changed planning assumptions, the effect would be one of different timescales, rather than completely different outcomes. However, in this scenario emerging changes in the relative priority between road and rail schemes may be expected.

3.24 The need to reduce transport-based emissions of carbon dioxide has already led to an announcement in the 2008 UK Government Budget of a change to vehicle excise duty with higher emitting vehicles paying higher rates of duty. Further incentives to reduce emissions might conceivably be considered in future, e.g. based around the introduction of a "carbon related tax" reflecting the damage costs of climate change caused by each additional tonne of greenhouse gas emitted. Current estimates of the value of the damage effect of carbon emissions would imply a tax equivalent to around six per cent of the price of fuel. On this basis, a relatively small effect on total travel demand (around two per cent) would be expected from the introduction of such a tax.

Emerging Goals for Transport Provision

3.25 There are many challenges facing the future of Scotland’s national strategic transport network on the basis of the issues arising from the forecast growth. Addressing these is key to supporting the Scottish Government’s Purpose. The STPR has been undertaken in this context, and completed with a view to assessing the challenges, and identifying those interventions that can play the most effective role in addressing the transport issues identified.

3.26 On the basis of the functions of the strategic transport network and its ability to contribute to the Indicators of the Government’s Purpose, a number of goals and issues emerge. These goals provide a framework to consider the future challenges and priorities for the network, and in which the corridor and node-specific transport objectives have been developed for the assessment of schemes within the STPR.

3.27 The goals for transport provision are shown on the following page. Drawing from the STPR analysis of transport issues, opportunities and objectives described in the detailed Reports 1 and 2 from the study, the individual themes are discussed in summary in the sections that follow.

diagram

Providing Competitive Inter-Urban Journey Times

3.28 Whilst technology changes may reduce some aspects of overall travel demand, there is still a need to travel to do business and this is expected to persist. A high proportion of this "daily business" travel is currently focused on Edinburgh and Glasgow, although the need for access to other cities and areas of economic activity is also very important. Effective business communication depends on a reasonable travel time which is consistent and reliable.

3.29 Improving the connectivity between the cities of the Central Belt and between them and the other urban centres in Scotland will therefore help to underpin economic growth and spread the benefits of that growth. It is important that access to or from centres more distant from the Central Belt including Inverness and Aberdeen should be considered in terms of the potential to improve service frequencies or reduce overall journey times.

Edinburgh / Glasgow Conurbation

3.30 The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the towns and urban areas in and around these cities experience road congestion on the approaches to the cities and on the major estuarial crossings. This congestion impacts on the efficient movement of people and goods. Over the period to 2022, road congestion is forecast to expand over a large area on the approaches to Edinburgh and Glasgow and to intensify on the approaches to all of the major urban areas. This means that freight or business trips may take longer or be more likely to experience delay and reduced journey time reliability due to congestion or other disruption.

3.31 Without any interventions, average speeds in the corridor between Edinburgh and Glasgow are forecast to fall over the STPR period to half of the free-running speed19. Delays at non-grade-separated junctions on routes accessing the M8 are a key contributor to this delay. In this corridor, the trip pattern is diffuse with a wide range of origins and destinations: city-to-city trips represent less then 10 per cent of the total. Peak congestion occurs particularly on approaches to cities as through traffic and local access traffic meets at key junctions — for example at Hermiston Gait on the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass.

3.32 Major motorways take traffic through Glasgow and provide access for city bound traffic. Completion of motorway connections should permit study of differential measures for access and through traffic to enhance journey time reliability.

Linking in other Urban Centres

3.33 While Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Dundee are all within a reasonable travel time of each other, Aberdeen and Inverness are not. Both the distances for Aberdeen and Inverness are further than for the other cities. The average speeds are also typically lower. At particular times of the day Aberdeen is more than three hours away and Inverness is more than three and a half hours away from the centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow. These two centres are isolated not only from the main centres of economic growth but also from each other, with journey times of well over two hours between the two cities.

3.34 This presents a different set of problems in that these centres are less able to interact with the rest of the country or derive benefits from business or freight movements. Reducing journey times between such centres and the Central Belt, whilst supporting the more immediate issues of these areas themselves is an important objective in pursuing the Scottish Government’s Purpose.

3.35 While cities and towns outside of the Central Belt are forecast to remain relatively congestion free in off-peak periods, peak congestion on the approaches and at key nodes is already apparent and is forecast to worsen. There are conflicting demands on available capacity at peripheral junctions between through and local access traffic. A number of strategic routes continue to be routed through towns and communities rather than bypassing them, meaning that severance, visual intrusion, noise and emissions can be problems — for example the A90 Kingsway in Dundee and the A737 and A77 in Ayrshire.

3.36 In terms of peak access to these cities outside of the Central Belt, there is the opportunity to learn from the experiences of Edinburgh and Glasgow by intervening before the problems become acute, for example by supporting public transport.

3.37 Also for remoter areas, the impact of seasonal changes can be more obviously felt than for the cities within the Central Belt. The additional strains imposed by tourists in the summer months and of harsh conditions in winter need to be considered in assessing network capability. In addition, there is the need to recognise the wider, regional role of cities such as Inverness, over and above their size, as they provide services and access to airports, lifeline services locally and to the rest of Scotland nationally.

Journey Time Reliability

3.38 The Congestion Report20 highlights that currently, across the busiest sections of the road network, journey time reliability is good overall, over most of the day. However, this is not the case at all times, and it is evident on some road sections that poor journey time reliability is already a significant problem in peak periods.

3.39 With the traffic volumes forecast for 2022 on the strategic road network, the use of the road capacity on the approaches to most of the major urban centres and on the main roads across the Central Belt is likely to be approaching levels at which higher impacts on journey time reliability will be experienced. Journey times in the height of the peak will become measurably and consistently longer with persistently lower speeds. Periods of congestion or delay will extend more widely into the rest of the travelling day, significantly affecting travel time reliability for a greater number of users.

3.40 The geography of Scotland itself gives potential for particular reliability issues. It is important that emphasis should be placed on the maintenance and safe operation of the existing assets to ensure that strategic routes are kept open under all conditions, as there might not be readily available alternatives. There is a need for resilience in the network — either in terms of alternative routes or in terms of the availability of the assets — particularly when it comes to considering the available routes for crucial freight operations.

3.41 The issues associated with a lack of alternative routes apply equally to major crossings such as the Forth and Tay crossings, as well as to many of the routes into the more remote areas both in the north and the south of the country. The Forth Road Bridge is a key link in the strategic road network. Due to the condition of the existing bridge and its identified lifespan problems, it was decided that a replacement was required. On 19th December 2007, Ministers announced their choice for a cable stayed bridge as the preferred replacement for the existing Forth Road Bridge.

3.42 There are also opportunities in some locations for improving reliability through better use of the road capacity that is available — using intelligent transport systems (including motorway controls), and demand management systems (including integrated traffic control) to increase the operational efficiency of the network and improve reliability. The current applications of these systems are relatively limited in terms of geographical coverage and technological capability. Systems have been developed in isolation and have not been fully coordinated between the local and national systems.

3.43 Within urban areas, there are opportunities to better integrate the operation, maintenance and management of urban traffic control systems and public transport priority and information systems. On inter-urban routes, there is the possibility of introducing Active Traffic Management. There are also opportunities better to provide pre-travel and interchange information through such internet and telephone based systems as Traffic Scotland21 and Traveline Scotland22 for passengers, and Freight Scotland23 for freight operators.

Case Study: Use of Intelligent Transport Systems

The M8 motorway / A8 trunk road between Edinburgh and Glasgow is the principal road link between Scotland’s two largest cities. The M74, M77, M80 and M8 form the main arterial routes into Glasgow, while the M8, M9 and M90 form the main arterial routes into Edinburgh. The A720 forms the Edinburgh City Bypass to the south of the city.

Much of this road network is dual two lane motorway, other than the M8 through Glasgow between Baillieston and Paisley which varies from dual three lane motorway to dual six lane motorway, and the A8, A90 and A720 which are dual carriageway trunk roads.

Within and on approach to Edinburgh and Glasgow, this road network is congested during peak periods. The congestion is caused by the high volume of traffic on the motorway and the interaction with the significant levels of local traffic at junctions. This congestion adds delay to trips during these periods and decreases journey time reliability.

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) comprise of a number of different measures that can work individually or be integrated. These include Variable Speed Limits, ramp metering, delay information displays and hard shoulder running. ITS can help to reduce delays, improve journey time reliability and increase capacity, making best use of the existing motorway and trunk road network.

Variable Speed Limits help to increase the capacity of the road network by smoothing traffic flow and reducing cases of stop-start traffic that occur when traffic volumes increase. This stop-start traffic can result in queuing on the motorway. By reducing this, average speeds can increase, journey time reliability improves and the volume of traffic able to use the motorway can increase.

Ramp metering has similar benefits in that it reduces the impact of traffic joining the motorway on traffic already on the motorway. Whilst this can increase delays for traffic joining the motorway, there are overall improvements to journey times and system reliability.

Delay information displays provide information to drivers to inform them of how long to expect it will take to their destination. This can reduce driver frustration and improve driver behaviour.

Managed hard shoulder running could vary depending on the location, with potential priority given to buses, high occupancy vehicles or Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV). Using the hard shoulder would reduce delay and increase the capacity of the motorway. In some cases, road widening might be used to generate an additional lane for this purpose or to provide lay-bys for broken down vehicles.

Promoting Transfer to Public Transport

3.44 Particular issues have been identified in terms of the need to provide access for all, particularly those without the use of a car, and in terms of contributing to action to address the forecast increase in emissions resulting from the continuing growth in private car use. Provision of improved public transport services can help with these issues, by providing a reasonable level of access for the vulnerable and by encouraging everyone to switch away from car use and onto public transport.

3.45 Around Edinburgh and Glasgow in particular, a comparatively high proportion of trips are already made by public transport. As road congestion increases in these areas, rail could become relatively more attractive. There should be an opportunity to build on the widespread familiarity of bus and rail use to maintain quality access with competitive journey times, in reasonable comfort and with good reliability.

3.46 However, buses are adversely affected by road congestion unless targeted measures are taken to prevent this, and overcrowding already exists on peak rail services in some areas which is likely to worsen. Limited car parking at some stations and physical constraints on increasing rail capacity will, if left unchecked, lead to overcrowding and deterioration of performance. These factors are likely to limit the attractiveness of public transport (or reduce its ability to meet longer term growth in demand), in the absence of targeted investment.

3.47 In more rural areas, low service frequency and longer journey times are the more pressing constraints on use. The type of intervention being considered within the STPR does not, however, lend itself to smaller scale service or infrastructure improvements more commonly associated with rural public transport services.

Rail Services

3.48 Rail has an important contribution to make towards achieving a safe, integrated, effective and efficient transport system for Scotland. Often offering fast journey times, the rail network provides a reliable and demonstrably attractive alternative to other modes of transport as well as offering the potential for reduced emissions. The rail network in Scotland supports economic growth and development, providing a quality inter-urban link between city regions in Scotland and links to major English cities as well as more local / regional links.

3.49 The National Transport Strategy, and its supporting document "Scotland’s Railways", highlight the role of rail in providing The service patterns that may be delivered in future to utilise any new rail infrastructure will be designed to support these objectives;

  • Fast, long distance passenger services between our major urban centres;
  • High quality commuter services into major areas of employment, education and leisure activities; and,
  • Rail freight services for regular high volume and generally long distance flows.

Edinburgh and Glasgow Rail Networks

3.50 Many of the rail routes in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow operate close to capacity and experience overcrowding. This overcrowding is forecast to worsen with a two per cent per annum increase in rail demand forecast. Increasing demand, without additional capacity, will lead to overcrowding becoming more frequent and widespread.

3.51 Network Rail manages the rail network in Scotland. The condition and capability of the network are specified by the Scottish Government and determined by the Office of Rail Regulator, and Network Rail are subsidised by the Scottish Government in order to ensure that they are able to maintain the network to this level. Modern management and communication systems are already used routinely across the rail network, and the implementation of the maintenance regime appears to provide effective protection of the asset base. In effect, there are only very limited opportunities for improvement in terms of maintenance and safe operation or of making better use of existing capacity on these constrained sections of the rail network. Investment in additional capacity or equipment will be required.

3.52 In recent years there has been an ongoing increase in investment. Despite this investment, there are a number of significant infrastructure capacity constraints on the network which particularly affect journeys to work in the Central Belt. Glasgow Queen St, Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket all have constricted approaches that inhibit simple increases in rail capacity. Platform lengths across the network also add a further constraint, preventing the operation of longer trains. Dealing with these constraints can be expensive — the recent £150m programme of work at Edinburgh Waverley provides an indication of the financial cost of achieving upgrades in heavily congested locations. Incurring such expense may, however, be the only viable option in some situations.

3.53 Edinburgh and Glasgow are the main economic drivers of the nation, with GVA levels of £12.5 billion and £13.5 billion respectively: over 30 per cent of the total for Scotland. The prosperity of this twin city region is recognised by the Scottish Government as essential for realising sustainable economic growth. This means making best use of the synergies between the cities and enhancing their respective catchment areas for business. Recognising this, an early part of the STPR involved an assessment of options to improve rail connections between the two cities. This is the foundation of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Rail Improvements Programme (EGIP).

Other Routes in the Scottish Rail Network

3.54 Rail capacity on routes serving centres outside the Central Belt is often constrained by sections of single track and lower capacity signalling. With lower frequencies and speeds and mixed stopping patterns, there can be some peak overcrowding on the approaches to the cities. However, this is localised and is forecast to remain so in future.

3.55 Although the current provision will accommodate the future demand in most instances, there are key issues with respect to inter-urban journey times between major cities, especially between Aberdeen / Inverness and the Central Belt. Current times are constrained by the nature of the infrastructure, and by the need to call at many intermediate locations. Opportunities need to be sought for provision of enhanced rail services on these routes.

Bus and Rapid Transit Services

3.56 Buses can provide the sustainable mass public transport necessary to support economic growth and accessibility. They are often uniquely placed to provide the essential links needed to enable us all to get to work and to access shops, schools and health services. Buses are currently the principal, most frequently used and most widely available mode of public transport.

3.57 Buses are best at providing:

  • Flexible services, which can be developed and introduced very quickly where demand is identified;
  • Mass transport in an urban setting, moving large numbers of people - currently around 480 million passenger journeys a year24 — and thereby reducing the amount of congestion on Scotland’s roads and of reducing the impact on the environment of emissions; and,
  • Accessibility — for many rural, particularly remote rural, areas they provide the only practical alternative to car use.

3.58 Bus access to city centres can be supported by prioritisation. For example, priority is provided in terms of:

  • Space — by providing bus lanes or segregated lanes;
  • Time — using priority traffic control systems; and
  • Money — with subsidised parking charges and concessionary fares.

3.59 These techniques have been effective in supporting the provision of high capacity services in the face of mounting preference to the use of the car. Many of Scotland’s cities have bus priority schemes supported by Park-&-Ride at peripheral locations. Road improvements are being developed with parallel public transport measures / investments, such as the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the associated public transport initiatives.

3.60 Even so, while priority measures may help to sustain the competitiveness of the bus, its market is threatened by the growth in car ownership. The street layouts in some older cities may also mean that there are limited opportunities for on-street public transport priority. Without further intervention (based on central forecast planning assumptions and land-use trends), a decline in bus patronage is expected over the forecast period.

3.61 Edinburgh is constructing a new tram system between Edinburgh Airport and Newhaven to strengthen its local public transport services.

Interchange

3.62 Within the Central Belt and elsewhere, the trip pattern is generally diffuse with a wide range of origins and destinations. There is a need to consider not only the individual journey legs using public transport but also improvements to the interconnectivity across the network as a whole. Increasing dispersion of homes and jobs and longer travel to work is leading to a forecast doubling of public transport trips that require some form of interchange. This includes interchange from bus to bus, bus to tram, bus / tram to rail and rail to rail. Improved interchange will be critical to ensuring that this forecast growth can be promoted and accommodated.

3.63 Physical location of terminals is a constraint (particularly evident in Glasgow). In all cities, good connections between rail, bus (and tram where relevant) will be required, as well as inter-modal ticketing. Pressures for redevelopment of bus or rail stations in increasingly valuable inner city sites should be examined to ensure that the opportunity is taken to deliver enhanced inter-modal connections. Smaller town centres potentially give the opportunity for closer integration of bus and rail interchange but historically, developments often have been separate.

Providing Accessibility for Remote Communities

3.64 The major urban areas each support a significant rural area beyond the immediate commuter catchment. These more remote areas, including the far north and north-west of Scotland, Argyll and Kintyre, much of Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway and much of Scottish Borders, all rely on their nearest urban centre for services and other opportunities. The rural areas themselves tend to comprise smaller, remote and dispersed populations — lacking the critical mass of population necessary to support cost-effective public transport provision.

3.65 In these more rural areas, congestion is rarely an issue. However, the impact of seasonality is more apparent than for the urban centres. Tourist demand in the summer months and harsh weather conditions in winter need to be considered when assessing network capability. With generally smaller communities, there is scope for a high impact on outcomes when planning new community/employment locations. Careful consideration of land use, development location and transport needs can help to maximise the delivery of the transport objectives.

Roads

3.66 Most of the roads are single carriageway with limited overtaking opportunities and often higher accident rates. It is more difficult to provide separately for local access and longer distance traffic. In addition to the safety issues, this also means that severance can be an issue as main roads pass through local towns and villages.

3.67 The reliability issues posed by the geography of Scotland become more significant for many of these rural areas, which may be completely reliant on just one or two strategic links for access to their nearest urban centre and to the rest of Scotland. Network maintenance, particularly during the winter months, is vital in ensuring these lifeline links remain accessible and safe. Tackling the isolation of these areas is a key challenge in realising a more cohesive and integrated Scotland.

Public Transport

3.68 There are particular problems of isolation and exclusion for those who rely on public transport. Sparse demand, with longer than average travel distances to service and employment centres, leads to infrequent services at relatively high prices. Public transport journey times tend to be uncompetitive with the private car. Rail capacity, where it is available, and journey times are often constrained by operational restrictions imposed by local geography and the historical development of the rail infrastructure.

3.69 Consequently, the general population is more dependent on cars to access key services, compared to those in more urbanised areas of Scotland. Those who can afford and are able to do so are effectively encouraged to abandon public transport and use a car. For a minority of the population, however, (particularly the young, disabled and elderly) car-based travel is not feasible. As a result "In small communities some young people may feel isolated.., while elderly people …may grow concerned about levels of local support" 25.

3.70 For these people, access to key services can be maintained through innovative land-use and travel schemes, often dependent on public sector support. These include demand-responsive transport systems such as community car schemes. National concessionary fares reduce the costs of bus and ferry travel (where the options exist) for the elderly and young. The Air Discount Scheme complements this by providing discounted travel on ‘lifeline’ air links for residents of remote areas. Other innovations include mobile services (e.g. libraries, banks and food vans) and multi-purpose single site operations (e.g. post-offices with grocery services). Services are often operated at smaller scales in combination with each other to maximise available resource and minimise cost. These enable minimum service provision levels to be provided to support local populations.

Facilitating Strategic Freight Movements

3.71 The movement of freight is fundamental to the process of economic development. To be able to compete effectively in national and international markets, businesses must be able to provide rapid, reliable and efficient delivery. In recent years, dependence on the freight transport system has increased as globalisation has extended supply lines and as the adoption of the ‘just-in-time’ principle has greatly reduced inventory levels in the supply chain. For a relatively geographically remote country with strong trading links, such as Scotland, these trends present a major challenge. Development of a flexible and sustainable distribution network is needed for Scotland to compete in this global economy, as required for the Scottish Government’s Purpose.

3.72 In common with most of Western Europe, the majority of freight in Scotland is carried by road. Currently road haulage accounts for approximately 70 per cent of Scotland’s freight tonnage. Road freight traffic is particularly concentrated on the trunk road network. In 2005, trunk roads, which make up only six per cent of the total public road length, carried 62 per cent of all the Heavy Goods Vehicle traffic on Scottish roads. As noted below ("Promoting Rail Freight"), there are particular issues associated with this road freight traffic in terms of CO2e emissions and its contribution to congestion on the strategic road network.

3.73 Road freight traffic is concentrated in the Central Belt, and in the corridors linking the Central Belt with North West England. The corridors linking to the Upper Forth area, Dundee and Aberdeen are also relatively busy. Regional Distribution Centres are located generally within the triangle of main roads (M8 - A80 - M9) between Glasgow and Edinburgh and these provide a focus for much of the demand.

Freight on Road

3.74 Reasonable and reliable journey times are critically important in the context of the effective movement of freight as they are for the movement of people. Since most freight in Scotland is carried by road, a key issue for freight traffic is road congestion — in common with private vehicles and buses. For freight, there are particular benefits in schemes aimed at keeping local traffic and longer-distance traffic separate, since routes used by local traffic can often be unsuitable for significant freight use. The introduction of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and managed lanes on the motorway network could also be beneficial for freight by offering priority for freight traffic at specific locations.

3.75 Freight is also particularly affected by the geographical challenge of Scotland, and the need to be able to access the remoter communities. The constraints on road alignment and width, steep gradients, and the lack of alternative routes, impose particular problems for heavy freight vehicles accessing these areas. Targeted programmes of road improvements and safety measures can provide particular benefits for freight.

Freight Action Plan

3.76 The key elements of freight transport are drawn together in an agreed strategy. The Freight Action Plan covers all modes of transport - road, rail, air and water, and contains five aims supported by 12 objectives and 20 actions with varying timescales. Its purpose is to make Scotland a place where movement through the entire supply chain is efficient and sustainable, on an integrated and flexible transport infrastructure thus allowing Scotland's businesses to compete and grow in a global economy.

3.77 The Plan includes actions aimed at infrastructure improvements (road, rail and port); tackling accessibility issues faced by rural and remote areas (e.g. Highlands and Islands) and industries (e.g. timber); encouraging modal shift; and ensuring policy integration on freight transport issues throughout the public sector (i.e. between Scottish Government Transport and Planning, Regional Transport Partnerships, Local Authorities, etc). The Freight Action Plan:

  • Addresses pinch-points in the transport infrastructure that will reduce congestion and therefore reduce journey times;
  • Has actions to improve access to Scotland's ports and develop direct air freight links from Scotland, thus improving connections to markets;
  • Proposes actions that will encourage modal shift, reduce fuel consumption and improve road freight efficiency to help reduce emissions; and
  • Has actions relating to the transport of timber and addressing freight requirements of businesses and communities in rural and remote areas to improve accessibility.

3.78 A Stakeholder Steering Group oversees the delivery of the Freight Action Plan including representatives from central government, the haulage industry, the Enterprise bodies, business, Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) and Local Authorities. The work of the Freight Action Plan has been fed in to the STPR process.

Case Study: Targeted Road Quality Improvements on the A82 and A77

The A82 trunk road between Glasgow and Fort William is the principal road link to the west of Scotland. The 108 kilometre section of the route between Tarbet and Fort William is generally rural in nature and consists of a single 2-lane carriageway of varying standards. As there are no alternative routes within the immediate corridor, diversion routes often add significant additional time and distance to a journey. The road is extremely popular with tourists, and crucial for road freight needing to access the West Coast of Scotland.

Much of the carriageway is narrow and many sections do not have hardstrips or verges. The road width is constrained over some sections due to the proximity of lochs, a railway line, rock outcrops and narrow stone bridges and structures. The alignment of the road is also constrained by local topography, particularly on the sections of the A82 between Tarbet and Inverarnan, through the pass of Glencoe and between the Corran Ferry junction and Fort William.

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) on the route are restricted to 40mph by the national speed limit for single carriageway roads, and in many places are constrained to significantly lower speeds by the nature of the road. This leads to car traffic building up behind HGVs, and to a temptation for frustrated car drivers to risk dangerous overtaking moves — leading to safety issues for the HGV driver and for other road users as well as for the overtaking vehicle.

The 126km long A77 is the main link from Glasgow and central Scotland to the ports in Dumfries and Galloway. The ports at Troon, Stranraer and Cairnryan are the three main ‘gateways’ from Scotland to Northern Ireland. The A77 is also the main link to Prestwick International Airport. Approximately 10 per cent of vehicles using the road are HGVs, which tend to be bunched together in ‘platoons’, created by the HGVs arriving for or departing from the ferry services.

There are a number of towns lying directly on the A77 including Maybole and Girvan located in South Ayrshire. The large numbers of cars and HGVs using the route are obliged to pass through the town centres and main streets of these towns — leading to traffic problems caused by the interaction of strategic and local traffic and safety / severance concerns for the pedestrians in the town centres which may have restricted carriageway and footway widths.

On both of these routes, a targeted programme of road quality improvement measures has been developed, aimed at improving road standards and safety and environmental issues, and at reducing congestion. The programmes involve the implementation of a series of local road improvements, each of which has been specified to address existing and emerging problems along the length of the route and to meet local requirements and constraints. These include measures such as road widening, lay-bys, climbing / overtaking lanes, possible grade separation at key junctions, and local bypasses for significant towns on the route.

3.79 At regional and local level, public and private sectors are encouraged to work effectively in partnership through Freight Quality Partnerships (FQPs). They bring together RTPs, local authorities, business, environmental groups, and operators to encourage and improve the sustainable distribution of freight. FQPs encourage co-operation to increase efficiency in delivery whilst at the same time protecting communities from intrusion and maximising the benefits of rail and water transport (for example, relaxation of delivery curfews where this would be appropriate, streamlining deliveries through local consolidation centres, developing no car lanes, drivers' rest areas, local road and bridge strengthening). Under the Freight Action Plan, the Scottish Government is monitoring the number and effectiveness of FQPs and plans a progress report highlighting best practice in 2009.

Promoting Rail Freight

3.80 Rail freight plays an important role in the movement of heavy, bulk goods and long distance haulage. Three-quarters of the tonnage lifted by rail is made up of minerals, mainly coal. Most rail freight is long-distance, cross-border traffic with only 20 per cent of the rail freight in Scotland being internal to Scotland.

3.81 In recent years there has been a sharp increase in the volume of imported coal moved by rail from the Hunterston terminal to power stations in the English Midlands. Overall, coal has accounted for almost all the growth in rail freight traffic over the past 10 years. While road freight in Scotland (measured in vehicle-tonne kilometres) has increased at about two per cent per annum over the 10 years to 2004, rail freight has increased at about 10 per cent per annum over this same period — largely driven by the increase in coal haulage.

3.82 Rail has also been successful in capturing new retail traffic from companies such as ASDA, IKEA and Tesco for distribution to their warehouses and shops in Scotland. This intermodal traffic, which is more diverse in terms of final origins and destinations, is now the next most significant market segment after coal. This growth has been achieved in partnership with road-based logistics companies and, in some cases, with the assistance of Freight Facilities Grants.

Avoiding ‘Sensitive Lorry Miles’

3.83 A review of available data on CO2e emissions was undertaken for the Scotland’s Railways — Environmental Report, which found that freight transported by rail produces around one eighth of the CO2e emissions per tonne kilometre compared to road based Heavy Goods Vehicles. Road based freight also contributes significantly to road congestion (especially on single carriageway routes) and noise in built-up areas. Promoting the carriage of freight by rail rather than road (where feasible and viable) therefore has an important part to play in terms of STPR and wider Scottish Government objectives — helping to tackle both the climate change issues and improving the economic effectiveness of Scotland’s transport network.

3.84 These relative economic and environmental costs of road-based freight are reflected in the use of ‘Sensitive Lorry Miles’ as a measure in the assessment of the economic and wider benefits associated with transferring freight from road to rail or water (e.g. in awarding Freight Grants). The measure shows particular value in removing Heavy Goods Vehicles from urban areas and single carriageway roads. The UK Government is currently recalculating the appropriate values to be used for this measure.

Rail Capacity

3.85 Future growth in rail freight is constrained by lack of available paths for freight trains over the existing rail infrastructure. Rail freight capacity is constrained at peak periods through south Glasgow and on the approaches to Grangemouth. In addition, there can be problems in finding suitable through paths for freight trains between east and west across the Central Belt. Capacity limitations also affect rail freight outside the Central Belt, both as a result of insufficient paths (especially on routes with single track sections) and inadequate loading gauge for high-sided containers.

3.86 In general, where rail route enhancements and additional capacity are being proposed, consideration needs to be given to providing extra capacity for freight — in terms of additional freight paths, clearance for longer trains, and clearance for larger gauge (taller) trains. For example, planned work on the Edinburgh — Glasgow route will include provision for freight services to use relevant sections of the route and to use other associated diversion routes where appropriate. Clearance of gauge restrictions and provision of additional freight loops on routes to Aberdeen and beyond, proposed as part of a wider STPR service enhancement proposal on this route, should help to relieve constraints on freight routeing in that corridor.

Providing Access to Ports, Airports and Borders

3.87 The National Planning Framework recognises that economic success will depend on good connections with the rest of the United Kingdom and global markets. A critical function of the national strategic transport network is to address the transport requirements of urban, rural and remote communities in terms of international accessibility, and of the distribution of goods and international trade. This means that connections to the main ports, airports and border crossings, both by road and rail, are of particular significance.

Ports

3.88 The role of the ports, and the transport connections to them, is vital in contributing to economic growth, supporting international connections and in terms of cohesiveness for remoter communities. The ports fall into broadly three categories:

  • ‘Gateway’ ports linked to world shipping routes, including Rosyth, Greenock, Stranraer / Cairnryan, Hunterston and Troon;
  • Other ports serving mainly freight (including oil), including Aberdeen, Inverness, Peterhead, Leith, Grangemouth and Ayr;
  • ‘Lifeline’ ports serving the Island communities (carrying both freight and passengers), including Scrabster, Ullapool, Mallaig, Oban and Ardrossan.

3.89 Grangemouth is Scotland’s largest container port, with important European, Baltic and global connections. Approximately 9 million tonnes of cargo are handled through its dock facilities each year. Improvements to strategic road and rail infrastructure are needed to allow the area to function to its full potential as an intermodal freight hub. Rail access in particular is currently constrained by the limited track capacity availability in the Central Belt. Improvements in terms of capacity and gauge for freight services are possible as part of planned passenger capacity enhancement schemes on the Edinburgh — Glasgow route.

3.90 On the Forth, there may be opportunities to expand container capacity. There may, for instance, be opportunities to create a new international container terminal at Rosyth as part of the wider development of the dockyard, helping to ensure that Scotland has sufficient container port capacity in future years. There is potential for the port to handle both international traffic and coastal services from English ports.

3.91 The ports giving strategic access to Northern Ireland in the south west (Stranraer / Cairnryan) are relatively poorly connected, generally. The Ireland — United Kingdom — Benelux Euro-route follows the A77 and A75 trunk roads via Cairnryan, Stranraer and Dumfries. This road link, together with the A77 heading north to central Scotland and also the rail link to Stranraer are all limited in terms of capacity and speed. As noted in the case study above, the A77 in particular passes through a number of towns, implying delays for strategic traffic and a high ‘cost’ for freight traffic in terms of Sensitive Lorry Miles.

3.92 Ireland’s National Spatial Strategy also recognises the potential for moving freight through Scotland to avoid congestion on routes to England’s East Coast ports. Moving freight by rail would be the most sustainable approach to developing Scotland’s potential as a land bridge between Ireland and the Continent. As well as improvements for the ports in the south west, rail access improvements to Grangemouth and the Forth (along with the reopening of the Stirling — Alloa — Kincardine railway) will also be important steps in that direction.

Airports

3.93 Scotland also has 16 airports with scheduled services, of which five (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick, Aberdeen and Inverness) are international airports, two of which (Prestwick and Edinburgh) handle significant freight volumes. Others are ‘lifeline’ airports, providing crucial services for island and other remote communities.

3.94 The Scottish Government is strongly committed to promoting a shift to more sustainable modes of transport. However, given Scotland’s geographical position, good air links are vital for international connectivity and competitiveness. Air links to their countries of origin are important to the people from Eastern Europe now contributing to the Scottish economy, and good international connectivity will be a crucial factor in encouraging more people to come to live and work in Scotland. Taking these factors into account, and in line with the UK Government’s Air Transport White Paper26, there is expected to be continued growth in throughput at Scotland’s airports.

3.95 Due to its central location Edinburgh Airport is likely to experience a particularly large growth in traffic over the next 25 years. The Scottish Government has announced that a new airport station will be built at Gogar on the Fife rail line. The construction of the Dalmeny chord, a new line linking the Fife and Edinburgh — Glasgow routes, will allow trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh to stop at the airport station. An interchange with the Edinburgh tram will facilitate onward travel to the airport. Together, these and some of the other interventions outlined in STPR will support the wider development of the West of Edinburgh area.

3.96 The services offered by Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick airports are in many respects complementary and there may be potential for strengthening surface connections between them. Linking Scotland’s main cities and airports with higher speed trains could offer a much wider choice of destinations, allowing mass passenger transfer between airports, and opening up the South-West to more visitors. In particular, increased capacity on rail services between Prestwick and Glasgow city centre will be required in the medium term.

Cross-Border links

3.97 Cross-Border road and rail links are of prime economic importance for Scotland: congestion and lack of infrastructure outwith Scotland can have an adverse impact on access to Europe and other parts of the UK. The economic benefits of tourism can be spread more widely if more of Scotland can be brought within 3 hours of major English cities.

3.98 There is a need to improve journey times and the frequency of rail services to key destinations such as London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. This has been recognised in the National Planning Framework 2 with the inclusion of a National Development for High Speed Rail link to London. Developments on these routes are critical in providing an alternative to domestic air travel and achieving modal shift on the cross border trunk roads. A regular and reliable 3-4-hour journey time on existing lines between Central Scotland and London would help to make the train more competitive with flying, and improving Scotland’s connection with City Regions in the north of England (where the distances and journey times involved are potentially ideal for securing rail’s competitive position) could be particularly important. Reducing journey times on routes between Aberdeen and Newcastle would also improve the connectivity of knowledge economy clusters on the East Coast.

3.99 These same rail routes, as well as the Glasgow and South Western route, are also strategically vital for the movement of freight between Scotland and England. Improvements to the West Coast Main Line in particular would allow more cross-Border freight to be moved by rail.

3.100 The passenger rail services on these routes are currently operated through long-distance UK rail franchises including Cross Country and Virgin West Coast franchises. Responsibility for these cross border trains rests with the UK Department for Transport (DfT), with the exception of sleeper services which form part of the First ScotRail Franchise. The Scottish Government remains committed to working with DfT to achieve improvements such as:

  • The imminent implementation of the West Coast upgrade, allowing a reduced fastest journey time from Glasgow to London of 4 hours 15 minutes;
  • Capacity enhancements along the West Coast corridor to assist freight movements;
  • In the medium term, 4 hour fastest journey times from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London and 3 hour fast through services to Manchester and the North West; and
  • In the longer term, a high speed rail link between Scotland, the English Midlands and London, reducing journey times between Central Scotland and London to under 3 hours and providing direct rail services to the Continent.

Maximising Labour Catchment for Areas of Economic Activity

3.101 Ensuring that businesses readily draw on an available pool of labour is essential to support economic growth. While forecasts suggest that the labour catchment areas will be maintained broadly at their current extents around most of the significant areas of economic activity, there are particular areas in the Central Belt that stand out as an exception.

Road

3.102 The strategic road networks in Glasgow and Edinburgh are operating close to capacity throughout the working day and there is heavy peak congestion on city approaches. Both cities have invested in public transport access (rail and bus in Glasgow; bus, rail and soon tram in Edinburgh). Even with significant recent investment in public transport, including physical priority measures, concessionary fares and parking charging strategies, there is likely to be continued reliance on the car and an ongoing decline in bus use is forecast. Private car still accounts for approximately 40 per cent of journeys to work in these cities, although this is rather lower than the national figure for Scotland of over 60 per cent.

3.103 Journey times by road to major centres of employment are forecast to increase with Edinburgh and Glasgow expected to suffer the greatest deterioration. Access by road to Edinburgh in particular is expected to be increasingly affected by congestion by 2022, shrinking its viable commuting zone (defined in terms of the area from which peak travel to Edinburgh within 60 minutes is possible). While the commuting zone for Glasgow is expected to remain broadly similar to today, this would be expected to change if forecast reductions in population and employment levels are reversed.

3.104 In addition, the existing speeds and journey times that apply during peak periods on key roads in the Central Belt are forecast to apply across the whole of the working day by 2022 if current trends continue without any mitigation. The prospect of a shrinking labour catchment in the Central Belt has major implications, given the key role of the twin-city region in the national economy. More widely, increased journey times in the Central Belt would have consequential impacts on trips from other parts of Scotland.

3.105 Outside the Central Belt, only relatively slight deteriorations in labour catchment areas for the main centres of employment are forecast.

Case Study: West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancements

The area covered by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has a population of approximately 2.1 million27 and is centred on Glasgow. This is the largest and most densely populated city in Scotland, with a population of approximately 575,00028. The city’s economy has changed from being largely manufacturing based to one based on the service sector, with a strong performing financial services sector and a significant number of public sector employees. The economy of the city and the region has been growing in recent years and Glasgow is now recognised as one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. The continued growth and prosperity of Glasgow is vital to the Scottish Government’s Purpose of sustainable economic growth.

Glasgow is the confluence of many national road and rail links and has an extensive railway network providing inter-urban and suburban links to the surrounding area. The suburban rail network around Glasgow caters for a large number of journeys, and in particular a high proportion of peak journeys to and from the city centre. The recent improvements in Glasgow’s economic performance have resulted in rising land and property prices and demand for further development in and around the city. One of the consequences of this is the increase in the number of those working in Glasgow but residing outside the city, increasing the demand to travel into and out of the city at peak times. These longer-distance commuting journeys are ideally suited to rail travel: but in order to accommodate this growing demand, it will be necessary to provide additional capacity.

A number of the key rail service corridors into Glasgow are already identified as having passenger loadings that are currently close to or at capacity, while operational and physical constraints limit the ability to run additional services and meet growing demands (beyond committed schemes). Glasgow Central is already the busiest station in Scotland and is the northern terminus for the West Coast Main Line (providing linkage to London, the Midlands and North West England), as well as acting as the terminus for services from Ayrshire, the Clyde Coast and local services from the south of Glasgow. At peak times, the services from Ayrshire and the Clyde Coast in particular are full, but there is no spare capacity at the station to provide for additional services. In addition, Queen Street station has significant constraints in providing space for additional services beyond the programmed Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme.

There are a number of potential options to provide additional capacity and better linkage. These include:

  • The development of a Metro/ Light Rapid Transit network across Glasgow comprising a mixture of conversion of heavy rail (e.g. part or all of the Cathcart Circle), lines on existing redundant infrastructure (e.g. Great Western Road / Botanic Gardens), new lines (e.g. Clyde Waterfront) and some on-road or next-to-road sections; and/or
  • The provision of a new city centre station linking the rail network to the south and east of the city; and/or
  • The provision of a new city centre station linking the north and south rail networks.

Both of the new city centre station options would provide additional platform capacity in the city centre and permit cross-city services to be provided. A Metro/Light Rapid Transit system could include new stations, improved service frequencies and improved access to and across central Glasgow. The system would be rolled out on a phased basis.

Public Transport

3.106 Using existing infrastructure and with current service patterns, rail access journey times are not expected to change significantly for most of the major centres, although crowding will worsen during peak times. While bus operators can react to changing demand by changing service patterns, routes and / or fare structures, this is typically less possible for rail. The existing investment plans already effectively exploit the most readily deliverable opportunities to increase rail capacity. Any further action to provide for increased demand and encourage modal transfer for journeys to work in the major centres is therefore likely to imply a major ‘step-change’ in the rail infrastructure and service patterns in order to accommodate increased train services.

3.107 Although physical integration of bus / rail and rail / rail is hampered in some places by physical separation of terminals (e.g. in Glasgow with the separation between the two rail terminals and both with the main bus station), integrated ticketing is increasingly available in the major centres. There are opportunities to extend this integrated ticketing facility to a wider market.

Ensuring that Scotland Remains an Attractive Place to Live and Visit

3.108 Scotland’s continued growth is reliant on a number of factors; from having a well educated and healthy population to providing a setting supportive of business and industry. Scotland must safeguard its environment and support global action on climate change while ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are distributed equitably across the nation.

3.109 The strategic road and rail networks are crucial in contributing to many of these factors. Whilst they perform relatively well in most situations, there are problems to be addressed. The evidence base and modelling work have highlighted issues likely to affect the strategic corridors, nodes and networks between 2012 and 2022. The STPR has used these to identify a series of interventions designed to maintain, optimise and enhance these networks and thereby support the Scottish Government’s Purpose over that time period.

3.110 In taking forward the design, development and delivery of these interventions, there is an opportunity to improve access for people and freight, reduce travel constraints, improve safety and alter mode choice and trip patterns to support climate change and environmental protection.

3.111 The delivery of the interventions outlined will take time and it is important that the actions taken are focused on meeting strategic priorities. Each intervention will support the Scottish Government’s Purpose, address the issues which have been identified and contribute to creating a more successful country.