CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S INTRODUCTION
This is Transport Scotland’s second Annual Report and the last under our inaugural Corporate Plan which covered the two year period from our creation in 2006. Our second year, 2007/08, has been one of delivery and achievement against the five corporate aims set out in the Corporate Plan, and more particularly, against the 2007/08 Targets published in our Business Plan.
It has also been a year of challenge, a year in which we have been refocusing our priorities to help deliver the Scottish Government’s Purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth. This is reflected in our second Corporate Plan covering 2008-11, together with our Business Plan for 2008/09, and a set of delivery priorities that ensures transport will play a vital part in delivering greater prosperity and opportunity for the people of Scotland.
So this Annual Report both reports on our progress and achievements in 2007/08 against our aims and targets and also looks forward to our priorities for the new Corporate Plan period. One of the key areas of activity for us in the new Corporate Plan period will be the action we will take to mitigate and adapt to the ever increasing challenge of climate change. As a delivery agency we are in a unique position to assist the Scottish Government in achieving its target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. To deliver this we are developing a Climate Change Action Plan which will ensure that these considerations are embedded within our core business so that Transport Scotland can be at the leading edge of developments in this field.
2007/08 HIGHLIGHTS1: DELIVERY HIGHLIGHTS
- At 31 March 2008 work was nearing completion on the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine Railway to provide passenger services from Alloa to Stirling and freight services to Longannet Power Station2
- Our £150 million programme of infrastructure work at Edinburgh Waverley station improving access and increasing capacity by four more trains per hour was delivered on time and within budget by Network Rail
- We completed £4 million worth of rail freight improvements to the Mossend to Elgin line which will enable up to 12.3 million lorry kilometres of freight to be transferred from the nation’s roads
- 45 trains were refurbished and put into service to the benefit of passengers travelling on north east, far north, north-west Highland lines and in Strathclyde
- We replaced worn out sections of some of the busiest motorways in Scotland on the M74 and M8 – on time and on budget – as well as carrying out vital bridge repairs such as those on the White Cart Viaduct and Erskine Bridge
- In November 2007 we launched our first-ever Strategic Road Safety Plan which sets out our goals for the next decade and the challenges we face in delivering them
- At the A82 from Fort William to Torlundy a cycle link was built in time for the World Mountain Bike Championships in September 2007
Our targets for 2007/08 included improving the condition of our trunk roads, reducing serious and fatal road accidents, increasing rail passenger numbers by 2% each year, delivering major rail projects, and optimising the use of our concessionary travel schemes. Our achievements against these targets are set out in this report. I have highlighted some of these in this section.
Our achievements against our current Business Plan Aims and Targets are, at the same time, in line with our new delivery priorities for the coming years: improved connections across Scotland; better journey times, better reliability; greener transport alternatives, reduced emissions; increased safety and more innovation. Taken together, they will help us develop and deliver transport infrastructure and services in Scotland of which we can be proud.
A well maintained and operated trunk road network is fundamental to the people and economy of Scotland. We continued to manage the trunk road network effectively, delivering £264 million of road maintenance and improvement schemes while keeping 99.2% of the trunk road network open to traffic at all times. Overall, the trunk road operating companies managed 13,146 individual roadworks sites in 2007/08. We have also invested in our Traffic Scotland, Traveline and Transport Direct services to improve the way in which we provide information to travellers and operate the network. I am particularly pleased to report the successful expansion of the Trunk Road Incident Support Services in the east of Scotland.
Safety is at the heart of everything we do as we aim to make our roads, already among the safest in the world, even safer. We are currently exceeding the Government’s 2010 casualty reduction targets and earlier this year we published the Strategic Road Safety Plan which takes forward the work of Transport Scotland not only in addressing historic accident sites but in identifying measures to address potential accident locations. Safer road design, improved speed management, continued maintenance and better provision for vulnerable road users will bring about the further reduction in accidents on our roads that we are all seeking.
Of course, complex infrastructure stretching across the whole of the Scottish mainland and Skye presents some real challenges. Incidents will occur. When they do we expect to be in a position to react quickly and effectively. The closure of the A83 at the ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ caused major upheaval for those who rely on the road. I was very pleased at the speed with which Scotland TranServ, our trunk road operating company, and Transport Scotland staff reacted. Their actions ensured that the road was reopened to traffic within 17 days of this major incident.
The highly successful concessionary travel scheme for older and disabled people continued to grow with passenger journeys increasing by 4.2 million to a total of 160.2 million. Progress continued on providing Smartcard systems on Scottish buses with a target of having most of the 7,000 buses equipped during 2008/09.
Rail usage continued to grow, with rail passenger numbers under the ScotRail Franchise increasing by 5.17%, against a target of 2%. Improved rail services have also been provided to North Berwick, Stirling, Uddingston and Cambuslang.
In addition, figures released in August 2007 by British Transport Police show that reported crime on our railway has fallen 6% in the last year and 27% since the start of the franchise in October 2004.
Investment in transport in Scotland is at a record high. Our budget for the year was £2,046 million and our final outturn was within 0.2% of that figure. This is a clear indication of the tight control we exercise over projects and of the priority we give to ensuring that best value is achieved from public funds.
We have also started to plan for major new projects including the £4.2 billion Forth Replacement Crossing and the £1 billion Edinburgh to Glasgow rail improvement programme.
2007/08 HIGHLIGHTS: CURRENT CONSTRUCTION PROGRAMME
- Construction commenced on the Airdrie to Bathgate Rail Link Project which will be a double-track, electrified rail line to link communities in North Lanarkshire and West Lothian more effectively and efficiently with Edinburgh and Glasgow
- Construction started on the £15 million upgrade of the A9 at Ballinluig, where a fly-over junction will be built to replace the right-turns across the on-coming traffic
- Construction progressed on a bypass of Dalkeith, bringing significant local benefits, reducing congestion and improving the quality of life for local residents
- There was substantial construction activity at the new Upper Forth Crossing project to improve central Scotland connections, open up economic opportunities, ease congestion in Kincardine and improve access to Alloa and the rest of Clackmannanshire
- Approval was given for the completion of the M74 which will significantly reduce congestion on the busiest stretch of the M8 through Glasgow and provide a major economic boost to the west of Scotland
- South Ayrshire saw the start of a £22 million road improvement project that will provide additional overtaking opportunities on the A77, improving journey times to and from Cairnryan and Stranraer ferry terminals.
- We awarded two contracts, with a total value of £13 million, to upgrade the A7 and A76 in Dumfries and Galloway
2007/08 HIGHLIGHTS: PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
- Preparatory work began on the Forth Replacement Crossing, the largest construction project in the country in a generation
- Continuing the work started in 2006, the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) will be published later this year. This will define the most appropriate strategic investments in Scotland’s national transport network from 2012 until 2022
- The statutory process for the M8 Baillieston to Newhouse upgrade to complete the M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow was begun
- Tenders were received for the M80 Stepps to Haggs improvements
- The statutory process continued for the A90 Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), a bypass around the city with a fast link section to Stonehaven
- The Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) project was combined with Paisley Corridor resignalling work and saw the transfer of delivery powers to Transport Scotland
- We reviewed the Borders Rail Link and will deliver this project to provide a passenger transport service from Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders. Construction will commence by 2011
- We developed the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvements Programme which will provide an upgrade to central Scotland’s transport links through the delivery of improved rail connections between our two largest cities
- £500 million funding for the City of Edinburgh tram project was confirmed
Key to our continued progress and achievement is having a committed and enthusiastic team with the right skills and resources focused on the delivery of our aims and delivery priorities. We have introduced a Skills Management Programme and a Graduate Training Scheme, both designed to ensure our staff have the appropriate professional skills to deliver excellence in all that we do. I would like to thank both our staff and our industry partners for all their hard work in enabling us to achieve our targets for 2007/08 and look forward to working with them as we move forward into the new Corporate Plan period.
Malcolm Reed CBE