Improving transport connections and services across Scotland is vital in opening up new markets, increasing access to employment and helping to build a critical mass of business that drives up competitiveness and delivers sustainable economic growth. In delivering an efficient transport system for Scotland, we aim to ensure that everyone in Scotland benefits by providing effective links between people and between communities, both in rural areas and in parts of our larger cities which might otherwise face a degree of isolation.

As a key element in furthering the Scottish Government’s Purpose of promoting sustainable economic growth, we published the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR), setting out the most appropriate strategic investments in Scotland’s national transport network over the next twenty years. These were announced in Parliament on 10 December 2008. The STPR recommends a total of 29 transport packages which will enhance the transport network in key locations across the country. The recommended schemes have an investment value into the future which reflects the needs of transport and will be delivered subject to the transport allocation within future spending reviews.

The Forth Replacement Crossing will be the largest and most ambitious transport project of its kind in several generations. The new crossing will maintain a fundamental link across the Forth and create a new and better connection to Scotland’s transport networks in central Scotland and beyond. It will provide a dedicated public transport corridor. The new bridge and associated connecting roads will be designed with comprehensive care for the natural environment and in keeping with the iconic setting of the existing bridges.


The new Clackmannanshire Bridge, designed to alleviate traffic pressure on the Kincardine Bridge, is the second largest of its type in the world. The overall project includes an extensive network of new cycleways and footpaths and provides transport links between Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Fife, improving road safety and opening up the wider area to economic benefits.

The new £120 million Clackmannanshire Bridge over the Firth of Forth was opened by First Minister Alex Salmond on 19 November.

The £30 million A68 Dalkeith Northern Bypass was completed in September 2008, reducing heavy goods traffic through the town by more than half.

A £27 million investment in three vital road improvement projects brought benefits to road users across the South West of Scotland. The A77 improvements at Glen App and Haggstone opened three months ahead of schedule while the A76 upgrade near Glenairlie will provide additional overtaking opportunities. All three schemes will open up economic opportunities by improving journey times and connections across Dumfries and Galloway. The investment will also bring faster, more efficient access to the important ports of Cairnryan and Stranraer. The de-trunked section of the existing A76 is being converted to a cycleway as part of our ongoing efforts to encourage a shift to healthier and physically active forms of transport.

2008/09 also saw considerable activity on, and investment in, the M8 motorway. The first phase of a vital £12 million upgrade programme got underway improving the section between Blairmains and Blairmuckhill which is used by almost 60,000 vehicles a day. A £2 million structural maintenance scheme to improve a 3 kilometre section of the eastbound carriageway between Newhouse and Shotts included a trial of new surfacing materials that could reduce the need for future roadworks. This could have future benefits for journey time reliability as well as being less carbon intensive. The new Harthill Footbridge was delivered at a cost of £5 million.


The Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail line reconnecting the area to the rail network has opened up education and employment opportunities for the residents of Clackmannanshire with increased accessibility encouraging inward investment and economic growth. Freight trains began operating on the route in December 2008, transferring coal from Hunterston to Longannet and freeing up capacity on the Forth Rail Bridge which allowed more frequent and faster passenger services between Edinburgh, Fife and Aberdeen to commence in December 2008.

The new Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link reintroduced passenger services to Alloa for the first time since 1968 and carried 400,000 passengers in its first year, more than twice the original forecast.

Infrastructure improvement works at Edinburgh Waverley Station were completed. These included the delivery of four new platforms, extensive track re-modelling work, extra capacity on existing platforms and two new escalators and lifts inside the station. The electrification of the Mound tunnel and west facing platforms were not included in the original specification but were delivered within the original budget. The project received a commendation at the 2008 Saltire Awards for Civil Engineering in recognition of the planning, teamwork and skill shown in successfully completing the project while maintaining the efficient operation of the station.

In August, Transport Scotland took over responsibility for delivering the Borders Railway project in partnership with the rail industry. Funding is being accelerated for the project, with fast-tracked work scheduled to start in 2009 and completion anticipated around the end of 2013.

Other notable achievements in improving connections during the year include:

  • the A7 south of Langholm was rebuilt in only nine days following a catastrophic failure of the embankment supporting the trunk road
  • the narrow single carriageway section of the A830 at Arisaig was upgraded to accommodate two-way traffic; dedicated overtaking schemes were completed on the A75 and A76; and the Crianlarich bypass was completed on the A82
  • the £2.8 million A82 Achnambeithach Bridge replacement in Glen Coe was completed as part of the UK national bridge strengthening programme for 40 tonne HGVs. Preparations began for strengthening or replacing other bridges including the A82 Ba Bridge, A82 Allt Chonoglais Bridge and the M8 White Cart Viaduct
  • the M74 Completion project continued as work on the first of 13 bridges along the route got underway in March 2009
  • work started on the £28.5 million package of Glasgow – Barrhead – Kilmarnock rail infrastructure enhancement project
  • a new station was built at Laurencekirk, which opened in May 2009
  • the A68 Jedburgh Station Bridge Refurbishment project was completed, the first of four similar bridge schemes to be undertaken on this important route over the next three years
  • four railway stations at Barrhead, Kirkcaldy, Rutherglen and Mount Florida were made step-free in the first phase of the Access for All Programme


The first stage of the project has delivered ten miles of new track,
a computerised electronic signalling system, and two additional station platforms at Livingston North and Uphall Stations.


Making journey times more reliable is one of the main ways in which transport can help build and sustain growth in the economy.

Successful completion of the new double track on the railway from Newbridge to Bathgate as the first stage of the Airdrie to Bathgate project has increased service reliability for passengers.

Rail services between Edinburgh and Aberdeen via Fife were enhanced with new services, extra carriages and faster journey times as part of the December 2008 timetable changes. At the same time a more frequent service was introduced between Aberdeen and Inverurie along with better connections between Inverness and Thurso/Wick, all helping to make public transport a more attractive option.

Provision of up-to-date travel information is crucial to improving journey times and reliability. We have continued with the implementation of our Traffic Scotland Action Plan, delivering ten fully operational Variable Message Signs (VMS) near to key junctions, eight additional CCTV cameras at various locations on the M8, M74 and M73 and equipment to support the upgrading of the communications system that connects the signs and cameras to the Traffic Scotland Control Centre. VMS improve journey time reliability by providing the location and information about current incidents, roadworks and events and future roadworks and events which enables travellers to plan their journey to avoid these locations thereby reducing the impact of any congestion.

We provide travel information services both directly, such as the Traffic Scotland website, and with key partners, for example Traveline Scotland and the UK-wide Transport Direct We have improved the Traffic Scotland website which now signposts users to enhanced Park and Ride and lift-share options. We piloted a new events service to enable those going to concerts such as T in the Park and other events to plan their trips and improve overall traffic management. These changes have resulted in a significant growth in the use of the website, from 30,000 monthly in 2006 to 120,000 monthly in 2008. There have also been some significant peaks during critical weather events. In February 2009, during snow conditions, the site had 380,000 users.

During 2008/09 the Traffic Scotland Control Centre dealt with and provided information relating to 113,000 incidents and 5,800 roadworks on the trunk road network. In addition, staff in the Control Room operated the lane control signals, functions that were transferred to Transport Scotland during 2008, and supported 1,358 motorists who required the use of the emergency roadside telephones in the Strathclyde Police force area.

Scottish Ministers exercised the option contained in the original First ScotRail franchise agreement to extend the franchise contract for a further three years to 2014. The deal secured over £70 million for reinvestment, including the enhancement of existing services, improvements to stations and rolling stock, better connections for people wishing to travel to London in time to do business and a new look for the rail network in Scotland. The decision to extend the franchise has also resulted in improved performance levels as First ScotRail strives to meet testing new targets. We welcomed Audit Scotland’s report on its review of the rail franchise, the key findings of which were that Transport Scotland is running the franchise effectively and is helping deliver, with First ScotRail, an improving service to passengers. The National Passenger Survey to Autumn 2008 was published and showed that First ScotRail overall customer satisfaction rate had improved by 6% to 90%.

Over the year we have also ensured that First ScotRail delivered station improvements across Scotland as part of its £10 million commitment to the Station Investment Plan. This is part of an overall £40 million programme of improvements to trains and stations which First ScotRail is delivering over the lifetime of the franchise.

In October 2008, following a lengthy and complex process, the Office of Rail Regulation finalised the level of Network Rail’s funding for 2009-2014. For the first time Scottish Ministers were able to state what they wanted the Scottish Network to deliver during that period – a milestone in the devolution process. Transport Scotland played a significant role in determining the final settlement, and securing the best possible financial outcome for Scottish Ministers and taxpayers. As a result, Network Rail is now required to achieve 21% efficiency improvements in expenditure and to deliver further major enhancements, such as the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme.

The winter of 2008/09 was unusually severe and Transport Scotland’s £8.5 million winter maintenance plan saw fleets of gritters and hundreds of staff mobilised across the country to keep the trunk road network free of ice and snow.

Other notable achievements in seeking to improve journey times and reliability include:

  • publishing the Landslides Study Implementation Report which sets out the likely locations of landslides affecting the trunk road network
  • repairing and refurbishing the Fort Augustus swing bridge on the A82 and the Banavie swing bridge on the A830. Working closely with British Waterways, Transport Scotland completed essential work on these two canal swing bridges during the Caledonian Canal’s short winter shut-down and ensured they were both operational by the time the canal opened in mid-March 2009


When frost is forecast, spreaders are deployed to treat the roads prior to ice forming. The road and weather conditions are continually monitored and further treatments instructed as required. Between November to March, winter patrols operate on the more challenging routes when temperatures are low to treat promptly areas affected by changing conditions.


Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving changes in both the means and patterns of travel are key challenges in securing sustainable economic growth and a greener Scotland. The environmental impacts of all new transport projects and of the management and maintenance of the trunk road network, are considered in the context of the Government’s Strategic Target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.

As part of Transport Scotland’s approach to climate change, we are undertaking a major review of sustainability which will investigate how Transport Scotland currently carries out design, procurement, construction and maintenance of the trunk road and rail network in Scotland and will highlight opportunities to improve sustainability across these areas.

We are also developing a carbon management system to help us understand and systematically manage and reduce the carbon emissions associated with our activities. At the same time, we need to ensure the continued resilience of our networks in the face of climate change. The Scottish Road Network Climate Change Study, published in 2005, made 28 recommendations for improvements based on predicted future climate change scenarios. In October 2008 we published a Progress Report which outlined the significant progress that we have made, with 19 of the 28 original recommendations either progressing or complete. These include changes to the design standard for surface drainage systems, alterations to messaging systems and improved inspection regimes.

More immediately, the A90 Finavon Junction improvement between Forfar and Brechin was delivered almost completely with recycled materials. We intend to use recycled materials as far as possible on projects in other parts of Scotland.

Work began on a new route on the A835 for West Highland cyclists. The project will provide a shared-use footway/cycle track on the south-bound verge of the A835 between Tore and Maryburgh roundabouts. The new facility will be part of the National Cycle Network.

Construction began on a new fleet of environmentally friendly electric trains to be deployed in Ayrshire and Inverclyde. The contract will deliver a fleet of 38 state-of-the-art trains from December 2010. This is an additional 130 rail carriages which will provide more than 9,000 extra passenger seats on the Scottish network. These trains will save energy by re-generating electricity every time they brake to slow down or stop. To persuade passengers to leave their cars, the trains will be fully air-conditioned, with full disabled access, provision for cyclists and luggage as well as CCTV and power sockets for personal electrical equipment.

In September Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson launched the new unified ScotRail brand at the first rebranded station at Croy. The new brand improves the efficiency of current maintenance budgets by ensuring that money is spent on liveries and signage which will not be replaced before their life cycle ends and gives Scotland’s railways a single identity for the first time.

HITRANS, the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership in Scotland working in partnership with Transport Scotland and First ScotRail, received an award for the ‘Most innovative approach to cycle-rail integration’ at the national Cycle-Rail Awards 2008, for recognising the economic, environmental and health benefits that combined cycle and rail use brings. The innovative projects include the refurbishment of fifty Class 158 rail vehicles with improved accessibility, increased luggage and cycle storage as well as providing lockers and cycle stands at Dingwall, Inverness and Keith railway stations. Transport Scotland’s Small Rail Projects fund provided £9.2 million towards the cost of the projects.

Our £3 million rolling programme of car park expansion at stations has helped encourage more people to use the train. We have extended the station car parks at Musselburgh (93 additional spaces), Cupar (89) and Stonehaven (27). As part of the expansion, additional CCTV has been installed at each location while enhanced lighting will improve the overall feeling of safety and security for customers.


Scotland’s roads are amongst the safest in the world and Transport Scotland is on target to deliver, and indeed improve on, the UK Government’s 2010 target for casualty reduction. We are committed to further improving travel safety and reducing accidents wherever we can.

Scottish trunk road network – casualty reduction targets


The £750,000 improvement scheme, at the A90 Finavon junction between Forfar and Brechin, involved the use of 95% recycled materials in the construction of the embankment and foundations for the road, the footway and the central reserve. The project brought significant safety improvements and improved connections for communities across the region.


Transport Scotland is setting up Road Safety Groups for each trunk road on the Scottish network with representatives from the Police, local authorities, safety camera partnerships, fire and rescue services, trunk road operating companies and Transport Scotland. The Groups bring together the collective knowledge of safety and operational issues to promote a comprehensive approach to road safety.

As part of our Strategic Road Safety Plan for the trunk road network, we are currently setting up Road Safety Groups throughout Scotland. The aim is to increase awareness of road safety issues, monitor road safety performance and develop joint road safety initiatives, including those focused on improving driver behaviour.

The £4.5 million M8 Bothwell Street Off-Ramp bridge parapet replacement and the bridge refurbishment scheme at the Kingston Bridge complex were both completed. Bridge parapets are an important safety feature and upgrading and replacement of parapets increase the safety of errant vehicles on bridges. The works at Bothwell Street were undertaken following a risk assessment and a history of parapet strikes. The impact of traffic management for this scheme was modelled and carefully assessed prior to the works and was subsequently praised by users of the M8 for improving flows on the heavily trafficked motorway during the works.

The A9 Ballinluig Junction improvement was opened in May 2008 by the Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney MSP. This £12 million project was completed some two months ahead of schedule and to budget, providing a much welcome safety benefit to travellers by removing a right turn access. Also on the A9, important safety improvement work began on the £2.7 million junction improvement at Bankfoot and on the overtaking lane at Carrbridge.

The installation of new £2.8 million east-side runway beams for the A898 Erskine Bridge under-bridge access gantries were completed to complement the £2.4 million west-side runway beams replaced in 2007. These will improve access for bridge workers and engineers to undertake regular inspections and maintenance operations safely. A £2.1 million contract was also awarded for the design and build of new under-bridge access gantries.

The exterior of the Erskine Bridge steel box girder deck is to be re-painted for the first time in 35 years with phased contracts estimated at £9 million.

Ground investigation works commenced to determine conditions at the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful which was affected by a landslip in October 2007. The information from these investigations is essential for the successful design of the improvement works. In addition, a state-of-the-art laser scanning system was installed to monitor the hillside near the location. This innovative technique will provide information to enable a better understanding of the pattern of ground movements on the hillside and help predict future potential landslips.


Removal of old paint systems from bridges prior to repainting is now subject to stringent environmental and Health & Safety conditions, particularly over sensitive waters. The exterior of the Erskine Bridge, which spans the River Clyde, is to be re-painted for the first time in 35 years. A successful trial was conducted using technology developed for ship hulls and storage tanks consisting of a remotely controlled crawler unit attached to the underside of the deck by suction. This provides a cost-effective, safe and environmentally superior method to remove paint.


In 2008/09, older and disabled concessionary passengers made 156.7 million journeys. This year also saw a 47% rise in the number of young people accessing concessionary travel in Scotland, from around 55,000 in April 2008 to almost 81,000 in March 2009.

Nearly half of the Scottish bus fleet of over 6,000 vehicles are now fitted with new smartcard compatible ticket equipment as part of our £30 million investment in the bus network.

Safety on the railways is at a record all time high. The new electric trains which we are procuring are being built to the latest safety standards and will help enhance these safety levels.

Through the combined efforts of Transport Scotland and the rail industry, passengers now have a higher level of personal security in Scotland than the GB average. In the most recent National Passenger Survey, passengers rated their personal security at stations at 75%, an increase of 3% on the previous year. On board trains, the level also increased by 5% to 86%.