4 ADDRESSING THE ISSUES: STPR RECOMMENDATIONS
IDENTIFYING INVESTMENT PRIORITIES
4.1 The analysis of transport provision and issues described in Chapter 3 has led to the identification of a number of strategic transport goals. As a result, the key policy directions which should guide investment priority decisions have also been identified. The interventions identified by the STPR have been assessed both in terms of their effectiveness at addressing these transport goals, and also in terms of the requirement to support the Scottish Government’s Purpose and the complementary objectives of the National Transport Strategy4 (NTS) and National Planning Framework5 (NPF).
4.2 Strategic movements of people and freight will be increasingly constrained by congestion. Demand for the transport network across many parts of the Central Belt is forecast to exceed capacity on both the road and rail network, particularly on corridors serving Edinburgh and Glasgow. Elsewhere in the country key nodes on the road network will become increasingly congested, driven particularly by conflicts between strategic and local traffic. Interventions will be required to ensure that the network continues to operate efficiently and safely, through managing demand but also with targeted enhancements at key locations.
4.3 Emissions resulting from the forecast growth in private car and road freight demand need to be managed. One component of this management process will be to encourage transfer of passenger and freight demand to rail. This will require interventions to improve inter-urban rail journey times, making them more competitive with private car, and also interventions to increase rail capacity where it is likely to be constrained (and hence likely to suppress rail demand), including providing adequate capacity and facilities for rail freight where appropriate.
4.4 There is also a requirement to provide access for all, particularly those at risk of being isolated, recognising that social exclusion is a problem for both the urban and the rural areas. Approaches to tackling the issues will be substantially different in the two types of area, but will require maintaining safe links to remoter communities, and providing accessible public transport where appropriate.
4.5 Access to ports is vital in supporting the movement of goods and international trade, and hence economic growth. Where such access is constrained, either through inadequate infrastructure or through congestion, targeted enhancements will be required to ensure that the constraint is kept to a reasonable minimum.
4.6 There is a need to provide access to major employment, service and social centres wherever they may be. These are well distributed in cities throughout the central area of Scotland and largely concentrated in the main towns in the more rural areas. Of particular relevance is the fact that many of the areas of economic activity identified are located on the periphery of the cities, where access by public transport is less competitive – implying some requirement for enhancement to the public transport networks and interchange facilities in these cities.
4.7 In order to ensure that Scotland remains an attractive place to live and visit, there is a continuous need to provide a safe, high-quality transport network.
PRIORITISING TRANSPORT INTERVENTIONS
4.8 To shape the interventions identified in the STPR into a realistic, deliverable package, a number of factors must be considered. These include assessing the role of each in contributing to the Scottish Government’s Purpose, and considering the limits potentially imposed by resource levels, legislative processes or other factors.
4.9 The individual interventions have been appraised using the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) process in order to assess the extent of their contribution to the Scottish Government’s Purpose, as well as to the transport goals described above, and the Scottish Government’s Strategic Objectives. They have then been prioritised and categorised as described below.
4.10 It must be recognised that it will be neither practical to deliver everything at once; nor possible to deliver everything as quickly as the Scottish Government might wish. The level of available funding alone will be sufficient to shape the programme, whilst some proposals are, by their very nature, less directly supportive of the Scottish Government’s Purpose or more complex in their development and delivery.
4.11 It is also essential to ensure that interventions are delivered effectively and efficiently and that, collectively, they offer benefits for all communities.
4.12 In development the investment portfolio it is recognised that a hierarchy of actions are necessary to achieve an effective transport network. This hierarchy identifies the nature of the investment, and by implication the likely complexity associated with the development and delivery of the intervention:
- Investment aimed at maintaining and safely operating existing assets (ensuring the connections between where people live and work are of a suitable standard and safe);
- Investment promoting a range of measures, including innovative solutions, to make better use of existing capacity, ensuring the existing road and rail networks are fully optimised (these may include technology based, fiscal and ‘soft measures’ in addition to engineering solutions); and
- Investment involving targeted infrastructure improvements.
4.13 In view of the constraints in terms of funding and resources, interventions involving infrastructure improvements have not been taken forward in the STPR without first considering the requirement for, and effectiveness of, interventions in the first two categories. The identified package of interventions has been categorised and presented in this Summary Report according to this investment hierarchy.
Assessing Contribution to the Scottish Government’s Purpose
4.14 In spite of the constraints, the interventions identified by the STPR offers a significant improvement to the existing transport network and support of Scotland’s continued economic growth. The contributory elements of the Scottish Government’s Purpose may be addressed to varying degrees and in different ways by different interventions. Improving sustainable economic growth requires the considering of environmental, safety and social cohesion issues in addition to the economic aspects of the Scottish Government’s Purpose.
4.15 The STPR appraisal process for the interventions has therefore assessed the extent to which they will impact on the Scottish Government’s Strategic Objectives of creating a society which is wealthier and fairer, healthier, safer and stronger, smarter, and greener.
4.16 It should be noted that the role of the potential interventions has been considered on the basis of their performance in respect of specific objectives for each corridor, node or network. It is not necessarily possible, therefore, to equate the results from an appraisal relating to interventions at one location, for instance, with an appraisal of potential interventions at another location.
Wealthier and Fairer Scotland
4.17 Quantifying the link between transport investment and economic growth is highly complex. The transport sector (i.e. logistics, haulage and rail, air and ferry services) contributes directly to the Scottish economy and, like any other sector, changes in employment and output will have impacts on the rest of the economy, both directly and indirectly. More widely, improvements in transport provision (i.e. the ability to travel from A to B) will generate savings for businesses and individuals travellers, leading to improvements in economic welfare.
4.18 The benefits of the package of schemes recommended by the STPR have therefore been estimated using the approach of identifying impacts on cost savings associated with travel. These savings include making journey times faster and more reliable and improving connections to help build and sustain economic growth; as well as providing travel opportunities for employment, business, leisure and tourism and linking towns, cities and rural communities throughout Scotland.
4.19 The benefit-to-cost (BCR) for those schemes where a figure can be provided at this stage indicates that the overall package has a BCR of between 1 and 2, representing good value for money when considering the major focus on public transport investment included in the package.
4.20 Unlike many other sectors, transport has additional economic benefits by impacting on the productivity of the economy as a whole. This is known as economies of agglomeration, which describe the productivity benefits that some firms derive from being located close to others. Significant agglomeration economies are expected to be realised from the investment programme identified.
4.21 In general, transport interventions such as those included in the STPR are not likely to have a major impact on the Strategic Objective for a smarter Scotland. However, promoting innovation and encouraging implementation of new transport technologies (such as alternative fuels) can help to meet the challenges associated with a greener Scotland and contribute to Scotland’s economic growth. The STPR interventions have been assessed on this basis.
4.22 Transport interventions can help towards the Objective for a healthier Scotland particularly at a local level, both by encouraging a shift from car to public transport and to healthier and physically active forms of transport, and by improving transport access (public and private) to health and community services. The effects of the STPR interventions tend to be relatively marginal in respect of the Objective, but some schemes are assessed as having a small beneficial effect.
Safer and Stronger Scotland
4.23 The transport priorities for a safer and stronger Scotland include improving the quality, accessibility and affordability of public transport to provide access to essential services and economic opportunities, including support for communities in less accessible or remote parts of Scotland. In addition, the reduction of accidents is prioritised, through improvement of the condition of roads infrastructure, by investing in new technologies to increase safety and security, and by promoting road safety and driver education.
4.24 Making Scotland’s roads safer will make an important contribution to this Strategic Objective, as well as the STPR objective to promote continuing reduction in accident rates and severity rates across the strategic transport network. This will support the Scottish Government’s Purpose by increasing the attractiveness of Scotland as a place to live and work, hence attracting high quality businesses and talented migrants, reducing outmigration and securing the productive engagement of an even higher proportion of the population.
4.25 The STPR investment hierarchy (see above) highlights the need for investment aimed at "maintaining and safely operating existing assets". A number of the interventions in the package identified by the STPR are targeted specifically at safety issues.
4.26 The challenges associated with climate change and the Objective for a greener Scotland have already been considered in some detail. As noted above, the type of initiative within the scope of the STPR are unlikely to have a major impact on emissions either one way or the other, and other initiatives involving Planning processes and technological and behavioural change will be required for any significant changes to be effected.
4.27 However, reducing transport emissions to tackle this issue of climate change and air quality can be addressed to some extent by promoting public transport as well as by encouraging the adoption of new low carbon technologies and promoting cleaner vehicles. In the context of the STPR, the recommended investment package seeks to address this challenge as far as practicable by focusing where appropriate on public transport investment in order to provide attractive alternatives to the private car. Although the overall effect of the package of interventions may be small, it is estimated to be beneficial.
Assessment of Intervention Impacts
4.28 The extent of each intervention’s contribution to each of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Objectives has been assessed as part of the appraisal process. Results are presented in this Summary Report (in Annex A) in terms of the following scale:
4.29 In terms of the benefits delivered compared to the cost of implementation, it would generally be expected that the first tier of the investment hierarchy ("maintenance" interventions) would be prioritised ahead of the interventions aimed at "making better use of existing capacity", and that both of these investment types would be considered ahead of the "targeted infrastructure improvements".
4.30 However, there are important factors which will need to be taken into account by the Scottish Government – including affordability, climate change and environment – before the delivery and timing of the individual schemes can be agreed and confirmed. The relative significance of these factors, and the manner in which they are assessed, will in turn depend on a number of interdependencies covering both policy and physical considerations.
4.31 A number of the interventions recommended by the STPR have already been prioritised and committed by the Scottish Government.
4.32 Future changes to the financial situation and to policy priorities over the lifetime of the programme could lead to changed priorities for the other STPR interventions, and may imply a requirement to review the scheme priorities over time.
4.33 The implementation of the interventions outlined in the STPR will be challenging. Together, they comprise a substantial and ambitious programme, whose delivery will require appropriate resources to be in place in order to pass through the various stages of development, design and delivery:
- Detailed planning;
- The obtaining of statutory approvals;
- Adequate funding; and
- Availability of the skills necessary to design and deliver the interventions.
These requirements are discussed in the sections below.
4.34 It should be recognised that securing these resources, progressing through the planning system and delivering a package of interventions of this scale is not a simple process. While all of the interventions identified in this report are expected to make progress through the various stages involved, it is likely that the limited availability of resources coupled with changing priorities over time will mean that not all of the interventions will be fully delivered within the ten-year STPR planning period. Some interventions may take longer to develop or design or to secure the necessary resources, while other interventions have various phases proposed, so may be partially implemented with subsequent phases delivered at a later date (e.g. awaiting evaluation and review of the initial phases).
4.35 On the other hand, there will be some interventions where early delivery is required. Preparations for bringing forward the appropriate interventions should be undertaken at the earliest opportunity, thereby reducing the lead-in time and making the best use of available resources.
4.36 Many of the interventions identified require further refinement to resolve outstanding issues of detail and ensure they conform to the appropriate standards for such proposals. Resolution of environmental and engineering issues will be important in this context. While the STPR has undertaken a strategic environmental assessment, more detailed environmental analysis will be needed for some of the interventions. Similarly, more detailed design of road or rail projects will be required to bring them to the point they can be built.
4.37 Resolution of statutory processes is a common source of delay in the delivery of interventions. There are many requirements in terms of the legislative framework associated with transport interventions, and these vary depending on the type of proposal under consideration. Road proposals have distinctly different statutory frameworks from those of rail proposals for instance and the time taken to conclude the preparation of Roads Orders, Compulsory Purchase Orders or other processes can be considerable.
4.38 There is also a clear need to conduct appropriate consultation in support of many proposals. This is a valuable component of scheme development. It can be time consuming, however, and the programme for any intervention encompassing consultation needs to make allowance for this.
4.39 Availability of funding for the scheme is clearly crucial before it can proceed. In practice, the affordability of the individual interventions, and the total budget available, will be the key factor in determining the duration of the implementation programme and scheme prioritisation.
4.40 It is typically more helpful to have clarity on long term funding availability when undertaking a long term delivery programme such as that developed for STPR. In reality, the availability of funding over many years cannot often be predicted with accuracy and some degree of flexibility in the timing or prioritisation of interventions will always be necessary.
4.41 Nevertheless, in order to make significant progress in delivering the programme of interventions outlined by the STPR, a prolonged and sustained source of funding will be necessary.
4.42 The construction or implementation of an intervention is often the most visible aspect of its delivery. It has its own challenges and detailed planning and effective management are essential to ensure that adverse impacts, such as disruption during construction, are minimised.
4.43 It is also important that interventions are managed to provide timely delivery of the benefits, and that they are phased in the most cost effective and operationally beneficial manner. The latter may be particularly true of rail interventions, where timetabling enhancements and other service improvements in one part of the country must be tied to signalling or station improvements in other parts of the country.
4.44 Affordability of the schemes needs to be assessed taking into account the country’s financial situation and the availability of Scottish Government funds. For some schemes, there may be opportunities to draw on other budgets (e.g. working in partnership with Local Authorities and the Regional Transport Partnerships) or to seek private sector investment through public transport providers who would benefit from the scheme. In these cases, the relative affordability of that scheme could be improved.
4.45 The assessment of schemes and environment priorities will be influenced by the National Planning Framework (NPF2 in the first instance) and by Development Plans, and by subsequent revisions to these policies as they arise. Some schemes may be particularly important to or supportive of the Planning Framework as it changes and develops, while others will be less so.
4.46 Climate change effects of the schemes will need to be considered in the light of the targets and framework established through the proposed Scottish Climate Change Bill.
4.47 The scheme programme will of course be affected by physical interdependencies between the schemes themselves. There are a number of identified schemes which will rely on another of the schemes having already been implemented, or where there is a significant level of synergy. Specific scheme interdependencies are highlighted in the scheme descriptions in Annex A.
4.48 In addition, some schemes may be affected by other schemes outside the scope of the STPR (e.g. local schemes or UK schemes) – either being made more significant through synergy between the schemes, or possibly having its priority reduced because of some level of conflict or overlap between the schemes.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
4.49 Future priorities will be determined and assessed according to the success of prior STPR schemes in terms of the extent to which they are achieving their objectives. By monitoring a scheme’s implementation and evaluating its impacts, lessons can be learnt in terms of preferred approaches and prioritised objectives for future schemes.
4.50 Monitoring the implementation process is an important and necessary tool. It will allow the Scottish Government to make best use of its resources in the long term, allowing adjustments to both programmes and funding, whilst keeping the long-term objectives of the STPR in place. The monitoring process will illustrate the ongoing progress against the core objectives and the Scottish Government’s Purpose.
4.51 Monitoring relates to a variety of topics, including monitoring the programme and budget of the implementation’s delivery and ensuring that commitments such as environmental mitigation measures, that may have been identified at the planning stage, are being delivered. It will also be important to monitor design development – aiming to avoid "project creep" and keeping sight of the original intention and objectives for the scheme.
4.52 Measuring the success of the schemes once implemented, is essential for a number of reasons, based on; the delivery of best value, the safe and effective use of the transport network and the identification and application of best practice. There are two issues of particular importance in this respect;
- Does the intervention actually do what it’s supposed to in terms of the original objectives set for it?
- To what extent had the intervention helped to deliver the Scottish Government’s Purpose?
4.53 There are issues associated with softer interventions where monitoring will be particularly difficult. Many of these interventions relate to the promotion or facilitation of services. In these cases, it is often possible to measure headline outcomes, but not relate these to underlying factors. Changes in ticketing arrangements may, for instance, be measured in terms of the numbers of tickets sold, but not necessarily in terms of the detail of the trips for which they have been used.
4.54 As the current programme unfolds, and as priorities are changed through changing interdependencies, the monitoring and evaluation process will lead to further review and prioritisation of the future requirements for transport interventions. This could imply both a re-appraisal of the approaches used to assess scheme effectiveness, and also a review of the residual corridor-specific transport objectives, (and hence of future transport priorities) given the level of success of the implemented schemes in meeting the current objectives.
4.55 The list of interventions assessed in the STPR and found to make a positive contribution towards the Scottish Government’s Purpose and Objectives in the context of strategic transport provision is shown in the map and the table below. The table shows how the interventions have been categorised by investment type using the definitions above. Although the individual interventions have been numbered sequentially (from 1 to 29), it should be noted that this is not indicative of a suggested prioritisation: the numbering is simply used as a convenient labelling mechanism between the table, the map and the summary descriptions.
4.56 A full set of summary descriptions for the individual interventions shown in the table can be found in Annex A of this report. Each of these summaries describes what the proposed intervention is and where it is. It also describes what the intervention achieves in terms of meeting STPR transport objectives and the Scottish Government’s Strategic Objectives (based on the STAG appraisal process) – i.e. by implication, the contribution that the intervention makes towards achieving the Scottish Government’s Purpose and National Outcomes.
4.57 The intervention summaries also provide additional details relating to each intervention, including:
- Outline details of links to other strategies or agencies;
- Overview of the current stage of development of the intervention;
- Suggestion of what the intervention might cost in range terms;
- Comments on the deliverability of the intervention.
Maintain and safely operate existing assets
Make better use of existing capacity
Targeted infrastructure improvements
1. Strategic Road Safety Plan
2. Maintaining and Safely Operating Scotland’s Rail Network
3. Targeted Programme of Measures to improve road standards between Glasgow and Oban/Fort William (A82)
4. Targeted Programme of Measures to Reduce Accident Severity in North and West Scotland
5. Route Management on other road corridors
6. Further Electrification of the Strategic Rail Network
7. Reconfiguration of the National Rail Timetable
8. Strategic Park & Ride/Park & Choose Strategy
9. Using Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) on Parts of the Road Network to Enhance Capacity and Operations
10. Integrated Ticketing
11. Implement Targeted Programme of Measures to improve links to the Loch Ryan port facilities from the Trans European Network
12. Enhancing Rail System Capacity through Targeted Improvements
13. Rail Enhancements in the East of Scotland
14. Forth Replacement Crossing
15. Edinburgh to Glasgow (Rail) Improvements Programme
16. A9 upgrading from Dunblane to Inverness
17. Rail Enhancements on the Highland Main Line between Perth and Inverness
18. Upgrade A96 to Dual Carriageway between Inverness and Nairn
19. Rail Service Enhancements between Aberdeen and Inverness
20. Grangemouth Road and Rail Access Upgrades
21. Upgrade Edinburgh Haymarket Public Transport Interchange.
22. Targeted Road Congestion /Environmental Relief Schemes
23. Rail Enhancements between Aberdeen and the Central Belt
24. West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancements
25. Light Rapid Transit connections between Fife and Edinburgh
26. Rail Enhancements between Inverclyde / Ayrshire and Glasgow
27. Enhancements to Rail freight between Glasgow and the Border via West Coast Main Line
28. Inverkeithing to Halbeath Rail Line
29. Dundee Northern Relief Road