Delivery Against Our Priorities
The Agency publishes a separate Annual Review document, and the 2012 version is available on the Agency website http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk. The Review document provides a user friendly and accessible guide to our activities in 2011-12, although it is not formally part of the Annual Report.
Improving transport connections and services across Scotland and internationally 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.
Construction started on the Forth Replacement Crossing (FRC), Scotland's biggest infrastructure project for a generation following the completion of a two-year procurement process that has delivered significant savings on the previously estimated cost. The lower costs of these contracts means the revised estimated total out-turn cost of delivering the FRC project is now £1.45 billion to £1.60 billion, a substantial reduction on the previous estimate of £1.7 billion to £2.3 billion. In addition contracts for the Fife Intelligent Transport System and M9 Junction 1A improvements were awarded to John Graham (Dromore) Limited and Sisk Roadbridge Civil Engineering Limited respectively. Both contracts were also awarded at prices below the low end of the estimated cost range. The project remains on schedule and on budget to deliver a new crossing across the Forth by 2016.
The re-opened Airdrie to Bathgate rail link resulted in a large boost in passenger numbers along the route. The full frequency of four trains per hour was introduced in May and usage figures at the new stations at Armadale, Blackridge and Caldercruix are all on target to meet their initial annual forecasts. ScotRail also introduced more services between Inverness and the central belt on the Highland mainline as well as Edinburgh - Dunbar and Glasgow - Dundee routes.
The Craighouse-Tayvallich community-run passenger ferry service recommenced for summer 2012 with joint funding support from Transport Scotland and Argyll and Bute Council.
Transport Scotland worked with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to finalise the business case for the Fastlink project. This culminated in the Scottish Government providing funding of up to £40 million for the project. Fastlink will provide fast access to jobs, services and communities along a key development corridor, including healthcare services at the new South Glasgow Hospitals, and improve transport links for the Commonwealth Games. It will also contribute to the Scottish Government's aim of supporting long term economic growth by acting as a catalyst for regeneration and better land use. The final business case specifies that the Fastlink core scheme will incorporate the three main transport hubs in Glasgow city centre (Glasgow Central Station, Glasgow Queen Street Station and Buchanan Bus Station) in addition to the route from the SECC to the new South Glasgow Hospital Campus in Govan.
Construction of both the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) and A90 Balmedie to Tipperty continue to be delayed due to the on-going legal challenge against the scheme. The AWPR will provide substantial benefits across the whole of the North East: boost the economy; increase business and tourism opportunities; improve safety; cut congestion; as well as increasing opportunities for improvements in public transport facilities.
Ministers remain committed to the target project delivery date of December 2014 for the Borders Railway. Transport Scotland is working with Network Rail to deliver the project and its benefits for the local communities and businesses in the Borders.
The Paisley Corridor Improvements (PCI) project achieved substantial completion in February 2012, with work ongoing to develop further train service enhancements in the December 2012 timetable. The project will improve services to Ayrshire and Inverclyde and has already delivered increased capacity at Glasgow Central' the busiest station in the UK outside London.
Transport Scotland worked with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to finalise the business case for the Glasgow Subway Modernisation programme and the Scottish Government subsequently announced that it will provide up to £246 million funding contribution for the scheme, estimated to cost £287.5 million in total. The substantial upgrade will deliver: new bespoke trains; refurbished stations; an upgrade of signals; integrated smartcard ticketing; and improved accessibility for passengers. This will provide an economic boost to Scotland's biggest city, link to other transport infrastructure improvements and contribute to the city's regeneration.
We have continued to work with airlines and airport operators and with other Scottish Government agencies on the development of direct international routes to Scotland to foster inward investment, business and inbound tourism traffic.
Further notable achievements:
- Procurement of the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project moved forward with the publication of the notice for the main works contract in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on 30 March 2012.
- The M80 Stepps to Haggs project opened in September 2011, on time and on budget and is bringing real benefits to businesses and the community.
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.
In addition to the introduction of new Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) services on the Edinburgh Glasgow via Shotts Line Transport Scotland, working in partnership with Network Rail, has delivered a number of key infrastructure improvements including the electrification at Haymarket Tunnel. In January 2012 Network Rail announced a £55 million package of contract awards in respect of route clearance works in advance of route electrification and the redevelopment of Haymarket Station.
Transport Scotland's Incident Management Summit was held in Glasgow on 14 March 2012, marking the crucial first step in working to reduce closure times and the associated disruption that unplanned incidents cause on the trunk road network by identifying opportunities for improvement and creating a collaborative forum to track progress. The event included a keynote speech from Minister for Housing and Transport, Keith Brown MSP, presentations from key incident management personnel, and themed workshops, with strong representation from key incident management responders, including Police, Transport Scotland, Fire and Rescue Services, Traffic Scotland, Recovery Agencies, Operating Companies and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
In the spring of 2011, following the worst period of severe cold weather for over 30 years and the coldest months in Scotland since records began, the Transport Minister commissioned an exercise to test Scotland's winter plans. Transport Scotland's resilience team led Exercise Polar Storm on 7 September 2011 with over 200 delegates from across the transport sector, the emergency services and Local Authorities. This exercise examined the consequences of sustained pressure from severe weather, considering the impact on services reliant on the road network, and was extremely well received by all who attended. The report from the exercise was published as part of the Scottish Government's Ready for Winter week in October last year.
Transport Scotland worked with key stakeholders, particularly Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow City Councils, to implement legislation to allow civil enforcement of bus lanes by camera. The introduction of these powers should lead to improved enforcement of bus lane restrictions by motorists as a means of avoiding congestion. This, in turn, should result in improved journey times and better reliability of public transport, making the bus a more attractive option, leading to a reduction in local emissions. These powers are supplementary to existing police enforcement and any charges will accrue to the local authority and be used for the purpose of facilitating delivery of local transport strategy.
Transport Scotland recently carried out essential repairs to the A92 Edenbank Bridge to strengthen and refurbish to current standards, offering improved safety for central Fife trunk road users. During a planned inspection in 2010, the structure was found to be suffering from deterioration and further special investigations determined that the structure was deteriorating rapidly and could no longer carry modern traffic loads. The bridge was temporarily propped to act as a safeguard until the strengthening work was carried out, to enable it to remain open to the public. Work started on site on 14 September 2011 with a planned contract duration of 12 weeks and was completed 5 weeks ahead of schedule at the end of October 2011. The improvements will ensure Edenbank Bridge's future durability.
Road Safety Scotland launched a new online resource in October 2011 entitled 'Get into Gear', offering support for people who deliver Young Driver Interventions leading to an Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) accredited award, which forms part of a broader road safety qualification for Scotland.
Through the Scottish Government's investment in rail services' ScotRail provides around 2'300 train services every day in Scotland. In the past year over 80 million passenger journeys were made on First ScotRail services' an increase of over 30% over the last eight years. ScotRail completed its commitment to Scottish Ministers to invest £40 million with around £20 million delivering front line passenger facilities including new lifts at Haymarket, ticket office refurbishments, new toilets, platform shelters, customer help points and CCTV. Significant investment in new class 380 trains has delivered around 7,500 extra seats on routes in Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Lothian in the last year. This has allowed a further cascade of existing rolling stock to provide additional capacity on peak services on routes in and out of Glasgow, delivering more than 1,100 extra seats for passengers.
The A83 trunk road at the Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll is an area prone to risk from landslides which can be started by periods of heavy rain. This led to the A83 being closed twice in 2011-12, in December 2011 and February 2012. The first closure was due to a landslide on the road, which required removal of mud and boulders and also included drain cleaning and installing a temporary concrete barrier. The second closure was due to a slip that occurred further up the hillside but had not reached the road.
Since previous landslides in 2007 and 2009, we have invested approximately £700,000 in prevention and early warning systems to advise motorists of severe weather warnings from the Met Office and the increased risk of landslides and a new culvert. Landslide patrols operate at high risk locations when heavy rain is forecast. In February the Minister for Housing and Transport, Keith Brown MSP announced further investment worth £1 million to develop additional contingencies and mitigation work in addition to the study investigating the feasibility of longer term options on the A83 trunk road. We are also working closely with Forestry Commission Scotland to explore options for making emergency use of forest roads and using vegetation cover to help reduce the risk of landslips and this with the installation of additional protective netting is planned for constructions in the summer of 2012.
Further notable achievements:
- Work was completed, on time and on budget, on a £10 million dualling scheme on the A9 at Crubenmore;
- In January 2012 the new £31.5 million A96 Fochabers to Mosstodloch Bypass opened to traffic early and on budget;
- Draft road orders were published for £11 million improvement works on the A82 at Pulpit Rock to remove the temporary signals and allow two way traffic;
- The A77 Parkend to Bennane overtaking lane scheme opened on 6 June 2011;
- Preparation of the Balmedie to Tipperty project took a significant step forward with the making of the Orders;
- Work has begun on the Highland Main Line Improvements project with the introduction of two additional services in December 2011, which increases the number of trains from 9 to 11 per day.
Greener Transport Alternatives
The Scottish Government is committed to delivering environmental sustainability and a low carbon economy and transport. Transport Scotland plays its part in meeting these challenges towards 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.
Transport has a major role in helping to meet Scotland's climate change targets. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 set long-term targets to reduce emissions in Scotland by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 from a 1990 base year figure of 72 MtCO2e and annual targets are set for the period 2010-2027. In March 2011 the publication Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting the Emissions Reduction Targets 2010-2022 set out a series of proposals for reducing emissions from the transport sector. This commitment drives much of Transport Scotland's work around Sustainable Transport and Low Carbon Vehicles.
Our delivery of low carbon, active and sustainable transport aspirations involves a very wide range of activity around widening travel choices; reducing the need to travel; and decarbonising vehicles.
During the year our future ambitions for Low and Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles were set out in a progress report. A contract was also awarded for the purchase of two new low-carbon hybrid ferries combining diesel and electric battery power which will reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
Working in partnership with stakeholders we are continuing to promote cycling and support the development of cycling infrastructure, through on-the-ground delivery by Sustrans in partnership with local authorities across Scotland, to enhance both local networks and the National Cycle Network. Over 40 million trips per year are now undertaken on the National Cycle Network. We continue to work with Cycling Scotland to deliver the Bikeability Scotland school cycle training programme, and to increase the proportion of children receiving on-road training. Delivery of the local cyclist-awareness 'Give Me Cycle Space' campaigns aimed at drivers continues through Cycling Scotland working with a growing number of Local Authorities and schools. The first full year report on the implementation of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS) will be published in summer 2012.
A second round of the Scottish Green Bus Fund will build on the success of the previous round. It also aims to reduce the cost of low carbon vehicles by encouraging economies of scale, making the vehicles more commercial. The fund of £1.8 million was set up to deliver a further 26 new Low Carbon Vehicles (LCVs) by March 2013. The investment will also stimulate demand for green technology in Scotland.
Transport Scotland also provides grant funding to Carplus to support the development of the car club network across Scotland. Ten car clubs have so far received support, with the introduction of eight new car clubs since 2010. There are now over 5,000 car club members in Scotland using over 120 car club vehicles, and work is ongoing to expand this network.
The "Choose Another Way" website, operated by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) for Transport Scotland, continues to provide free travel planning advice. Transport Scotland is also working in partnership with the Public Sector Climate Action Group to develop organisations' approaches to low carbon transport.
The "Smarter Choices, Smarter Places" demonstration programme has operated since 2008 in seven communities, in partnership with CoSLA to encourage people to adopt travel patterns that save them money, make them healthier and reduce transport emissions. This has been delivered through four main themes: branding and social marketing; travel plans and personalised travel planning; infrastructure provision and associated promotion; and public transport improvements. A final tranche of investment was provided in 2011-12 to enable the projects to build on the early impacts and lessons learned from ongoing monitoring and evaluation. This has also allowed communities to explore new delivery models for travel planning, as well as supporting them to build closer links with local businesses. A full evaluation is under way and will be completed later in 2012 to inform future policy development.
We also fund the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to support organisations and businesses to make the transition to low carbon transport through 'smarter measures' including fuel efficient driving. In 2011-12, around 3,000 drivers benefited from subsidised training. In addition, EST set up a pilot Low Carbon Transport Loan Fund funded by Transport Scotland. This offers interest-free funding for workplace travel plan measures such as cycle storage and video-conferencing technology to enable cost-savings on international travel. In 2011-12, 18 loans were provided to applicants totalling £360,000 and 2012-13 will see continuation of the loan fund.
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a central part of the Scottish Government's commitment to decarbonisation of road transport by 2050. In 2011-12, the Scottish Government invested over £4 million in electric vehicles and infrastructure for the public sector in Scotland in addition to £4 million in 2010-11. This has led to Scotland's public services buying 270 low carbon vehicles, including cars, vans and street sweepers, and installation of 315 charging points, with a further 170 to be installed in 2012-13, in homes, workplaces and in publicly accessible locations.
In March 2012 we launched the E-cosse partnership which brings together Transport Scotland with car manufacturers, power companies, local authorities and WWF Scotland to advance wholesale adoption of EVs.
Further notable achievements:
- We published a Carbon Toolkit under the Freight Best Practice programme. This provides links to programmes and advice available to help freight operators save fuel and reduce emissions;
- Two Freight Facilities Grants totalling £0.4 million were awarded to JST (Floating Piers) Limited and Ferguson Transport Limited which will remove 230,000 lorry miles from Scotland's roads.
Improved Safety, More Innovation
Transport Scotland's roll-out of smart enabled ticket machines to the entire Scottish bus fleet has enabled the capture and transmission of key information on each individual concessionary travel journey. Consequently, before making payments to operators for concessionary journeys, we are now able to apply enhanced validation and analytical techniques to reimbursement claims. In addition to the significant financial savings resulting from this increased scrutiny, the outputs are used to inform the robust application of our fraud strategy. We also now have powers to report suspicions of fraud directly to the Crown Office and in 2011-12 we were successful in obtaining three convictions due to the wrongful recording of concessionary journeys, with several other cases still progressing through the court system. Recent publicity on our proactive and sophisticated anti-fraud measures will act as a further deterrent, as well as raising further public awareness and vigilance.
In April 2011, following a comprehensive procurement process, Transport Scotland selected specialist ticketing systems provider Applied Card Technologies Limited (ACT) to implement its next generation 'ITSO HOPS' ticketing transaction service. The new system will deliver greater stability, a more secure environment, enhanced performance and fraud prevention measures, together with innovative ticketing features to support Transport Scotland's progressive strategy.
In December 2011 we concluded a review of speed limits on trunk roads. The review centres around a desire to improve driver behaviour and the main aim was to ensure that speed limits are consistent, understood by drivers and appropriate for their environment and circumstances for their use. The evidence takes into consideration a number of factors appropriate to the character and function of the road and the review was undertaken by our operating companies and completed in December 2011. The outcomes of this review are currently being considered and we expect to publish them on our website later this year.
We published the report of our National Debate on the safety of young drivers containing 17 recommendations over a range of issues. The report highlighted a lack of evidence of what works in young driver interventions. Many of the recommendations therefore call for further evaluation and pilots of initiatives such as post test training and graduated licensing schemes.
Reported road casualty statistics for 2010 showed that Scotland again has the lowest road casualty figures since records began, with a continuing downward trend over the past decade, including:
- fatal accidents down by 36%, from 297 to 189;
- fatal and serious accidents down by 43%, from 3,304 to 1,897;
- accidents (all severities) down 32%, from 15,131 to 10,293.
We supported the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety by holding an event in central Edinburgh under the Junior Road Safety Officer (JRSO) All Together for Road Safety banner which won a Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety award in December 2011. A poster competition used the 10 winning posters from primary schools across Scotland to promote the decade of action in Scotland over the coming years.
Distribution of the Early Years resource via Education Scotland has been progressed considerably and the website, www.gosafewithziggy.com launched in September is showing an encouraging number of visits to the site. A competition on the website "Go Safe In Space" was also developed around "Ziggy".
Two integrated social marketing campaigns were undertaken this year: the drink-driving campaign saw the extension of the vehicle forfeiture scheme and, the rural roads campaign featured in cinema, TV and radio adverts and on digital platforms with the core message advising drivers, "If you don't have time to read the road, you don't have time to react".
Since the Erskine Bridge crossing the River Clyde between Erskine and Old Kilpatrick opened in 1971, there have been several incidents of people climbing the parapets and jumping. Following a number of such incidents in 1983-84, a series of flat vertical fine mesh panels were erected in front of the parapet rails. However the fence height was found to be insufficient to discourage people and the panels were raised in height in 1994-95. Following an increase in incidents since 2009, Transport Scotland decided to investigate extension to the existing parapets. Following successful trials and testing, the decision was taken to replace the existing parapets with higher galvanised steel ones. Work is now complete to install new 2.4m high, curved pedestrian parapets on the east and west sides.
Further notable achievements:
- We developed Winter Planning Guidelines under the Freight Best Practice programme for HGVs, in collaboration with industry. These were sent to all HGV operators in Scotland.
- The information on lorry parking in the Freight Scotland website was added to the Traffic Scotland mobile service.
Continuously improving performance and organisation
Transport Scotland aims to continuously improve its performance as an organisation. We continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to develop and implement Scotland's transport priorities. We work within Scottish Government drawing from its Business Strategy imperatives. We seek to develop our expertise, creativity and leadership to earn respect for our professional judgement and advice, and in delivering our objectives.
Transport Scotland carried out a wide ranging consultation into rail passenger services, the results of which will inform decisions on the next ScotRail franchise and future funding arrangements for Network Rail. The Rail 2014 consultation ran from November 2011 through to February 2012 and involved meetings and events across the country. It generated considerable interest and over 1,200 responses were received.
A Draft Ferries Plan for consultation was issued on 21 December 2011. The closing date was 30 March 2012 and over 2,000 responses were received. A final Ferries Plan will be published later this year and will set out the strategic way forward for all of Scotland's ferry services.
A Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) pilot which ran in the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree from October 2008 ended this spring. Ministers announced on 29 November 2011 that they would roll out RET to other routes across the network.
We undertook necessary preparatory work to enable British Waterways Scotland to operate on a self-standing basis, as Scottish Canals, after the UK Government transfer of the assets and functions of British Waterways in England and Wales to the new waterways charity The Canals and Rivers Trust. This involved close co-operation with British Waterways and with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The Road Expo event at The Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, in November 2011 included a free Transport Scotland / SCOTS conference on achieving value for money, working with greater efficiency and operating in new and innovative ways. The conference featured sessions on Bridges, The National Road Maintenance Review, Resilience and Risk Management & Safety.
The main driver for changes to the Bus Service Operators Grant was to replace fuel factors specific to each operator with a standard factor for the whole of Scotland. This aims to prevent additional grant in respect of increased fuel usage and deliver a reasonable and moderate change to the grant to improve outputs. It will use the same method of calculation for all operators in Scotland, incorporating incentives to use fuel more efficiently, complemented by Scottish Green Bus Fund and incentives for running low carbon vehicles, both of which favour urban areas where air pollution due to fuel use is more of a problem. A continuing use of mileage as a basis for payment supports bus routes and the bus network and encourages increased service frequency in urban areas and a redistribution of 10% to longer routes, generally in rural areas is also reflected.
Amendments to the Public Service Vehicles (Registration of Local Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2001 and the Bus Service Operators Grant (Scotland) Regulations 2002 are due to come into force from 1 April 2012. These will allow fully flexible services that are available to the general public to be registered as local bus services. These services will also be able to claim Bus Services Operator Grant (BSOG) and Concessionary Travel payments from this date. We have also set up a Bus Stakeholder Group as a consultative body to take forward bus policy development and implementation, with representatives from across the sector including regulators, operators, transport authorities, community transport and bus users. The Group's first meeting was chaired by the Minister for Housing & Transport, Keith Brown MSP, on 3 April 2012.
In 2014 both the current ScotRail franchise and the funding arrangements for Network Rail are to be renewed. Following the publication of the McNulty Rail Value for Money Study in May 2011 the Office of the Rail Regulator launched their Periodic Review programme which will help determine the outputs that Network Rail delivers in Scotland over the period 2014 to 2019 and the level of funding required to support these. As part of this process the rail industry published its Initial Industry Plan (IIP) for Scotland in September 2011. The Scottish Ministers published their High Level Output Specification (HLOS) for Network Rail in June 2012.
Transport Scotland worked with four local authorities this year - East Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and Fife Councils - to enable Decriminalised Parking Enforcement in their areas to enable them to administer their own parking penalty schemes and retain penalties collected to finance those schemes and fund general traffic management and public transport within their areas. The other significant difference with a decriminalised scheme is that parking rules are enforced by parking attendants employed either directly by, or under contract to, the local authority rather than by traffic wardens employed by the police.
Two sets of secondary legislation were laid in Parliament which made some changes to the eligibility criteria for a Blue Badge scheme and moved from medical assessment by a GP to independent mobility assessments which focus on the ability to walk rather than the specific medical condition. The legislation also brings into the eligibility criteria disabled personnel and war veterans and makes it more difficult to use a blue badge fraudulently by changing the design of the badge. It also allows local authorities to withdraw badges following a single conviction in relation to misuse and a new national electronic system has been introduced for processing online applications. This Blue Badge Improvement Service (BBIS) is currently shortlisted for a national award for projects that have used an innovative model or financial structure. We have also produced a "Code of Practice" for local authorities on the Blue Badge scheme, a "Can I get a Blue Badge?" leaflet for potential applicants and a "Rights and Responsibilities of a Blue Badge holder" leaflet. We have also created the new "Blue Badge Scotland" public facing website for Blue Badge holders, applicants and potential users and detailed "Travel information for people with mobility difficulties" in the accessible travel section of the Transport Scotland website.
Transport Scotland has worked together with First ScotRail and Network Rail to ensure they are better equipped to keep rail disruption to a minimum during severe weather and improve the communication to staff and customers. This has been secured through a substantial package of investment in excess of £2.2 million.
Following extensive testing ScotRail went live on 27 March 2012 with on-line retail of its Edinburgh - Glasgow Smartcard ticket. Smartcard customers now have the facility to purchase their weekly, monthly, periodic or annual, ticket on-line on ScotRail's website. If booked before 6pm the night before travel customers are able to collect their ticket the next morning at a ticket gate, ticket vending machine or platform validator on the route. Previously, Smartcard customers could only purchase their tickets at ticket vending machines.
The new steps and escalators at Edinburgh's Waverley Station were opened to the public on Monday 30 January 2012, improving access at the station for passengers with mobility impairments, prams and luggage. The refurbished steps provide a much cleaner, safer and modern environment for Scotland's capital city's main station. The Scottish Government has spent £7 million to date on phase one of the accessibility improvements which are expected to cost up to £16 million in total.