Our remit and priorities

Transport Scotland is responsible for ongoing maintenance work across its network of trunk roads, bridges and other structures. We prioritise repairs and improvements to ensure safe travel and steady movement of traffic.

We have contracts in place with the operating companies BEAR Scotland and Amey to deliver this work.

Our remit includes:

  • trunk road and motorway maintenance
  • bridge maintenance
  • incident management and support
  • clearing motorways and certain trunk roads of litter
  • lighting the trunk road network
  • undertaking an annual road condition survey
  • minimising the risk of landslides

A significant proportion of our maintenance work and budget is directed towards the general wear and tear of the trunk road network. Ongoing maintenance work maintains the required structural integrity on all of our trunk roads.

Maintenance schemes are conducted by Transport Scotland's contracted operating companies after they have obtained approval. We assess each scheme based on priority and value for money.

In some cases, maintenance operations may lead to unavoidable delays at road works. We aim to minimise disruption and keep our staff safe by working during less busy periods.

Our ongoing work

Road condition surveys

Our operating companies undergo annual road condition surveys as part of their contract. They ensure that the best value is achieved from our maintenance scheme by analysing the information and condition trends before planning work accordingly.

We use three types of vehicle for surveying.

  • The Deflectograph measured the strength of road structures, determining the long-term requirements to maintain structural integrity. From this we can determine the useful life of a road and identify areas for strengthening.
  • The SCANNER, or Surface Condition Assessment for the National NEtwork of Roads, measures and records surface condition and ride quality, pointing Transport Scotland towards the sections that need relayering.
  • The SCRIM, or Sideways Co-efficient Routine Investigation Machine, helps reduce accident rates by measuring the wet skidding resistance of road surfaces. As a result of these tests, we can target the best skid-resistant materials and further reduce accidents.

DFBO Contracts

In addition to regular maintenance, we operate individual Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DFBO) contracts. These include:

Our responsibilities


The Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires roads to be clear of litter, placing responsibility on local authorities and certain landowners to ensure this. Scottish Ministers are also partially responsible for the cleanliness of public roads.

The term “litter” has a broad interpretation, being anything that it is thrown down, dropped or deposited and left that causes defacement, in a public place by any person but excludes detritus, recent leaf and blossom.

Transport Scotland is responsible, via its operating companies, for litter management on motorways and in the following places:

  • A1 Old Craighall (A720) to Thistly Cross (B6370) (South East Unit operating company)
  • A720 Edinburgh City Bypass (South East Unit operating company)
  • A80 Castlecary to Old Inns (M80 DBFO)
  • A898 Erskine Bridge (South West Unit operating company)
  • A90 AWPR/B-T (Aberdeen Roads Limited)
  • Skye Bridge (NorthWest Unit operating company)
  • Forth Road Bridge and the South East Unit Operating Company

The rest of our trunk road network is cared for by local authorities.

The Operating Companies remove well over 100 tonnes of litter annually from Scotland’s motorways and special roads. Carrying out this work requires traffic management to ensure the safety of the workforce. This often unpleasant task has to happen weekly in some locations on the network.

This process costs money, causes delays and stymies tourism. In response to this, Transport Scotland and its operating companies support Keep Scotland Beautiful and its Roadside Litter Campaign.


Lighting provision covers the design, installation, operation and maintenance of functions including street lighting, illuminated signs and illuminated bollards. Effective lighting provides benefits including:

  • reducing personal injury accidents
  • facilitating a smooth flow of traffic on high speed routes
  • reducing crime and fear of crime in rural towns and villages
  • creating safe access for use of sustainable modes of transport, including public transport, cycling and walking
  • providing safe access to leisure and educational facilities
  • assisting emergency services in effective identification of location and detail of events and incidents
  • enhancing CCTV coverage during night time to assist road network management.

Transport Scotland considers the use of lighting on trunk roads on a case-by-case basis. The decision is often based on whether or not an identifiable link exists between accidents during the hours of darkness and the absence of street lighting.

We also take into account the potential impacts on the environment, including the need to minimise light pollution, improve environmental sustainability and reducing energy consumption.

Reducing energy consumption

Lighting accounts for around 86% of the energy consumption assocation with roadside electrics, using 31GWh per annum.

Transport Scotland is considering a range of options to manage the energy consumption from its roadside electrical assets - including lighting on trunk roads.

We are adopting new technologies to reduce consumption and trials are in place to facilitate innovation. Transport Scotland is developing a road map to implement efficient, effective and intelligent operation of lighting assets on the trunk road network.

The Scottish Government has published guidance on controlling light pollution and reducing lighting energy consumption.

Road Asset Management Programme

Transport Scotland’s Road Asset Management Plan (RAMP) keeps road users informed about the Agency’s management and maintenance responsibilities on Scotland’s trunk roads. The RAMP sets out the level of service we intend to provide on the trunk road network alongside the work and investment required to achieve this.

We will continue to expand, update and improve this plan and we want to listen to you, the road users. We are actively engaging with road users to understand their views on the trunk road network, covering topics such as road conditions, journey reliability and lighting provision. Annual surveys with a representative cross-section of users, help us to identify issues with the network.

You can read the results of previous consultations below:


If you notice defects on our trunk roads, you should report these to the Traffic Customer Careline (link opens on the Traffic Scotland website).

You should contact the relevant local authorities for defects on local roads.

To make sure that your enquiry is about a trunk road, use our map of the trunk road network or the official list of trunk roads.