DELIVERY AGAINST OUR PRIORITIES
The Agency publishes an Annual Review document, and the 2011 version is available on the Agency website http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk. Although not formally part of the Annual Report it presents similar information in a more summarised format, as part of our effort to provide accessible information about our activities.
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 competiveness 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.
A significant amount of preparatory work continued on the Forth Replacement Crossing project. Royal Assent was granted for the new crossing and a preferred bidder was chosen for the main contract to build the bridge and connecting road elements. The Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium comprises Dragados, Hochtief, American Bridge International and Morrison Construction. FCBC's successful bid for the design and build contract at a base price of £790 million represents a significant saving on the initial estimated cost range of £0.9 billion to £1.2 billion.
The tenders for the Gourock-Dunoon ferry service were issued in February 2011, and the successful bidder commenced the new service on 30 June 2011 thereby ensuring the long-term continuity of the ferry service for the people of Gourock and Dunoon.
Advance works continued on the Borders Railway project with ground and structural investigations underway. The process for delivery of the scheme by the end of 2014 continued to be progressed.
The M74 Completion Project opened to traffic on 28 June 2011, on time and under anticipated construction cost. The new motorway network will take approximately 20,000 vehicles per day off the M8 between Baillieston and Charing Cross and will cut 5-10 minutes off peak hour journey times across and through Glasgow. The motorway will provide improved access to economic, employment and education opportunities for the people of Scotland. The construction work included the Auchenshuggle Bridge which is one of the 13 major structures on the new motorway that crosses over water, and the Port Eglinton Viaduct, which crosses the West Coast Main Line, local rail lines and a number of roads.
Work on the M80 Stepps to Haggs upgrade moved forward with the early opening of the Moodiesburn Bypass, a key section of project, which will reduce traffic through the villages of Moodiesburn, Chryston and Muirhead by 70 per cent. In addition to this the 40mph speed restriction was lifted on 23 July 2011 with the exception of the section between Auchenkilns and Mollinsburn south bound. This restriction will remain for a short period to allow completion of the works around the M80/M73 junction. When completed in the Autumn, the £320 million project will bring improved journey times, reliability and safety for people using this busy route, cutting journey times during peak periods, by 30 to 40 percent, saving motorists up to 15 minutes each way.
The Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link was completed in December 2010. Communities in North Lanarkshire and West Lothian can now enjoy access to Scotland's two main cities for business, pleasure and employment without needing access to a car. The new route also provides a fourth rail route between our major cities. At a cost of £375million, Network Rail delivered the new route on time and on budget.
Other notable achievements in improving connections during the year include:
- Approval, subject to availability of funding, was given to complete the motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow by upgrading to motorway status the A8 from Baillieston to Newhouse. New Road Orders enabling improvements to the M74 Raith Junction and the widening of key sections of the M8, M73 and M74 were published, together with the A8. These mark a step forward in completing the Central Scotland motorway network.
- The 1st anniversary of the re-opening of Laurencekirk Station saw passenger journeys almost double the predicted 36,000 per annum.
Better Journey Times, Better Reliability
Making journey times more reliable is one of the main ways in which transport can help build and sustain growth in the economy.
Transport Scotland's Resilience Team coped with intense winter weather pressure as they worked round the clock trying to keep Scotland moving through the worst December weather on record. The multi agency team, which includes operating companies, the Police, Traffic Scotland, Network Rail and ScotRail, was set up following lessons learned from the last severe winter weather. This was in addition to the work of our staff across a wide range of policy project and other support activity. The bad weather also resulted in Trunk Roads Operating Companies being given an extra £2 million to repair potholes and we invested in regular supplies of salt stocks, topping up the national reserve stock, held centrally for those in particular need and specifically secured for the Scottish roads network. Despite the bad weather our Trunk Road Operating Companies provided an excellent service to the public keeping disruption to a minimum and working through extremely difficult conditions to keep trunk roads open.
Colleagues from across the Agency worked closely with SGoRR (Scottish Government Resilience Room) to keep the country on the move as planes were grounded due to volcanic ash.
Work started on a £10 million duelling scheme on the A9 at Crubenmore to construct a 2 mile extension to the existing dual carriageway near Etteridge on this crucial link to north Scotland.
A £6 million scheme to construct a 1.4 mile dual carriageway section on the A75 Cairntop to Barlae opened to traffic over two months ahead of schedule.
Draft road orders were published for £11 million improvement works on the A82 at Pulpit Rock.
A £5.5million construction contract was awarded to improve the safety and efficiency of a key route linking the west coast ports to the rest of Scotland, providing dedicated safe overtaking opportunities in both directions for nearly 2 miles between Parkend and Bennane, just to the north of Ballantrae.
Following on from the findings and the recommendations of the public local inquiry, the Minister announced in January 2011 that the Scottish Government will proceed with the scheme to dual the A90 between Balmedie and Tipperty.
Traffic Scotland and Traveline Scotland provide road and public transport users with up to date information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During 2010/11 Traffic Scotland's web service responded to the challenges of extreme winter conditions and special events such as "T in the Park" and the Papal visit.
Other notable achievements in seeking to improve journey times and reliability include:
- Work on a £30 million package of improvements to M8 White Cart Viaduct, near Glasgow Airport, reached a significant stage when the works moved onto the bridge carriageway.
- Transport Scotland's strategy for the management and monitoring of its Trunk Road Operating Companies won the 'Quality and efficiency of rendered services' award at the "Road to Excellence" challenge hosted by the Swedish Roads Administration in Stockholm.
- A £1.65 million contract was awarded to resurface the M8 between Junctions 2 and 3 at Livingston, delivering 2.5 miles of improved road surface, providing motorists with a safer, smoother journey.
- £3million An-Coileach scheme to overlay and widen the existing carriageway of 2.7km of the A87 in Skye from 6m to 7.2m.
- £1.5million resurfacing of the A9 at Aberuthven.
- £1million reconstruction of a section of the M8 at Harthill.
- £2.6million A9 Ralia scheme to reconstruct surfacing and kerbing and replace existing drainage; upgrade and resurface lay-bys and install road safety measures.
- Transport Scotland hosted the national Roads for All Conference to raise awareness in the wider roads community of the issues faced in making road travel accessible to all.
Greener Transport Alternatives
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 Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 challenging target of reducing emissions by 80% (from 1990 levels) by 2050.
A Freight Facilities Grant of £829,000 was provided to Carr's Flour Mills Ltd which will enable them to remove almost a quarter of a million lorry miles per year from our roads.
During the year our future ambitions for Low and Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles were set out in a progress report whilst tendering commenced for the purchase of a new low-carbon hybrid ferry combining diesel and electric battery power which will reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
The Scottish Bus Fleet was enhanced when five bus operators across Scotland were awarded £4.4 million in grant funding to invest in 48 new Low Carbon Vehicles (LCVs). LCVs allow growth in patronage to be increasingly favourable due to the reduction in emissions per passenger. The Fund also enabled economies of scale to bus manufacturing thereby enabling increasing numbers of LCVs to operate in Scotland. These new buses are expected to deliver an average reduction in CO2 of around 21 tonnes per year and 300 tonnes over their life cycle (assuming a 15 year life-cycle).
Grants of £255,000 saw the return of freight transportation along the Caledonian Canal and will benefit the environment by removing over 15,000 lorry trips from the road network.
Dumfries was home to the launch of Scotland's first cycle hire scheme, providing greener, healthier travel options.
The Transport Scotland Travel Plan for 2010-2013 was published, setting out challenging new targets for reducing business travel and commuting to reduce carbon emissions.
The First Minister announced the launch of the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Support Scheme at the 2020 Climate Change Conference in June 2010.
The £3.3million scheme provided a grant subsidy, in 2010/11 financial year for the difference in cost between a low carbon vehicle and its conventionally powered equivalent. Participating bodies also claimed for the costs of procuring and installing infrastructure to support these vehicles. Approximately 150 low carbon vehicles and over 80 electric charging points were procured by the public sector through this scheme.
The Sustainable Transport Team led a successful bid to join the UK wide Plugged-in Places scheme, which will generate matched funding for the installation of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging points. This will result in the installation of 375 charging points across Central Scotland by 2013, with work already under way to install points.
Increased Safety, More Innovation
We continued to upgrade Scotland's trunk road network in order to further improve safety for road users. Reported road casualty statistics for 2009 showed that Scotland achieved the lowest road accident fatality rates since records began - and continued to exceed the UK road safety targets.
Road Safety Scotland received a Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award for 25 years of commitment to road safety.
Road Safety Scotland launched 'Go Safe! - Ziggy's Road Safety Mission' on 5 October 2010 at the Glasgow Science Centre and then launched the resource in Gaelic at Dynamic Earth on 24 January 2011. This is a pioneering new road safety approach aimed at all children from birth to six and their parents, carers and educational staff.
Transport Scotland was shortlisted in the project of the year category at the Scottish Transport Awards for their publication on school transport safety.
Transport Scotland introduced two new innovations on our roads: StreetPrint, a resurfacing process and Durakerb, a lightweight kerbing system.
We launched the Traffic Scotland Travel App, a joint initiative with Traveline Scotland which, for the first time, integrates both traffic and public transport information in the same mobile application. This has been very well received, earning a 4 star review rating from users.
An early trial of an innovative way to tackle extreme temperatures on Scotland's roads provided favourable results. A liquid solution was successfully tested on hard-packed snow and ice. It will provide a new way of clearing roads at temperatures of up to minus 20 degrees and strategic stocks will be placed around the country for targeted use during lower temperatures, when normal salt is not as effective.
Striving Towards Excellence
We aim to achieve excellence in all that we do, bringing together all our expertise and working with our partners to develop and implement Scotland's transport priorities. As an organisation we are committed to being engaged with our stakeholders and attuned to their needs, respected for our professional judgement, trusted in our advice and effective in our delivery.
The A82 that stretches from Glasgow to Inverness was voted 'The Best Ride in Britain' for its comfort and smoothness.
A Transport Scotland report was published outlining potential reforms to the Blue Badge Scheme to establish ways in which the scheme might be altered and improved.
We completed a major 4 year project to procure and rollout new smart enabled ticket machines to the entire bus fleet in Scotland. The Transport Scotland and Logica project team that delivered the rollout had their achievements recognised at the Scottish Transport Awards where they won Best Transport Partnership of the Year Award.
Transport Scotland hosted the annual European Transport Conference in Glasgow for the first of a three year tenure from 11th to 13th October 2010. The conference successfully attracted 500 delegates from 34 countries over the 3 days and 244 speakers gave presentations on a diverse range of transport related subjects. Delegates also enjoyed a range of social and networking events at the conference including a civic reception in Glasgow's City Chambers and dinner at the Glasgow Science Centre.
Network Rail completed a £1million project to make Cupar station step free. This is now the seventh station to be made accessible for wheelchair users, pushchairs and for people with mobility difficulties through the £41million Access for All programme managed by Transport Scotland.