The trunk road and motorway network connects Scotland's major cities, towns, airports and ports enabling the movement of people, goods and services.

It is Scottish Ministers’ single biggest asset. The network is hugely diverse, ranging from the ten-lane M8 in the centre of Glasgow to single carriageway sections in the west Highlands.

The trunk road and motorway network is 3,507 km (2,179 miles) long, including slip roads and roundabouts. It has a gross asset value of over £20.8 billion and represents 6% of the total Scottish road network. It carries 35% of all traffic and 60% of heavy goods vehicles.

View map of the Trunk Road Network

Asset management policy and strategy

This policy and strategy shows our direction in asset management to enable a service that delivers objectives and also demonstrates our commitment to continual improvement.

View the asset management policy View the asset management strategy

Official List of trunk roads 

This list sets out those roads which are managed and maintained by Transport Scotland, on behalf the Scottish Ministers.

Under Section 2 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 the Scottish Ministers have a responsibility to:

  • Keep a list of roads for which they are liable to manage and maintain
  • Make the list available for inspection free of charge
View official list of trunk roads

Operating Companies

Transport Scotland has contracts in place with Operating Companies to ensure Scottish trunk roads are safe, efficient and well managed.

Maintaining the condition of our trunk road and motorway network is vital to the economy of Scotland.


Work is carried out by Operating Companies working under separate contracts.

These contracts are divided into 4 regional units.

The two South unit contracts commenced in 2020 and the two North contracts commenced in 2022. These contracts have a duration of eight years, with the option to extend up to a maximum of a further four years at the sole discretion of the Scottish Ministers.

These contracts are operated as follows:

Maintenance duties

Day-to-day work involves:

  • Inspection, maintenance and repair of road surfaces, bridges and other infrastructure
  • Grass cutting and weed control
  • Gully cleaning
  • Salting and snow clearing
  • Repairs to street lighting and traffic signals
  • Overseeing works carried out by contractors and utility companies

Value for money

These contracts employ 1,200 staff directly and 100 more through sub-contracts. To ensure these contracts deliver value for money, Transport Scotland has in place a Performance Audit Group (PAG) who audit, monitor and report on the financial, technical and performance aspects of the Operating Companies to an agreed strategy.

This involves more than 80 detailed audits per annum, monitoring of more than 1,200 road works sites each year and reporting on the financial, technical and performance aspects of the Operating Companies.

PAG also reviews payment requests from the Operating Companies and carries out inter-unit comparisons.

Unauthorised encampments

Unauthorised encampments - such as the location of caravans or vehicles on land without the landowner or occupier's consent - constitute trespassing.

When a member of the public becomes aware of an encampment they should report their concerns to the Operating Company, Transport Scotland or the local authority. Members of the public should not take action themselves.

Scottish Ministers believe that certain basic principles should be followed when dealing with unauthorised encampments:

  • Policies should endeavour to manage unauthorised encampments to minimise disruption for all concerned
  • Any anti-social behaviour is tackled firmly, regardless of who the perpetrators are
  • The same standards of behaviour should be expected from all members of the community, whether travellers or the settled population

Transport Scotland will take the following actions in relation to unauthorised camping by travellers on trunk roads:

  • Verify the Scottish Ministers own the land
  • Confirm the travellers are occupying the site without the Scottish Ministers permission
  • Contact the Local Authority Liaison Officer who deals with travellers
  • Visit the site with the Liaison Officer and establish the welfare facilities, waste disposal and how long the travellers intend to stay
  • Establish legitimate reasons for asking the travellers to vacate the site – The Human Rights Act 1998 means that all eviction and enforcement decisions must be ‘proportionate’ and ‘necessary’.

Damage to trunk roads

Transport Scotland is responsible for managing Scotland’s trunk road network on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. We have contracts in place with Operating Companies who manage and maintain the trunk road and motorway network on our behalf.

Transport Scotland and our Operating Companies will seek to recover all costs of repairing damage to the road network where that damage has been caused by a third party.

Disruption to business

Transport Scotland aims to minimise the impact that road works and lane closures have on businesses and communities.

Transport Scotland, through its Operating Companies, discharge Scottish Ministers’ duty to manage and maintain trunk roads in a safe condition. 

Unfortunately this work can sometimes result in disruption to local communities. When road works are required or improvement schemes are implemented, we will consult with local residents, businesses and community councils and other local stakeholders. 

Our aim is to minimise disruption whenever possible, maintain access to local businesses and assist motorists to make alternative travel arrangements. 

Compensation is not payable for disruption to business arising from roadworks on the trunk road and motorway network.

Claims against Scottish Ministers

Claims against Scottish Ministers can arise following damage to personal property or following a personal injury caused by an alleged defect on a trunk road.

Claims should be directed in the first instance to the appropriate trunk road Operating Company or Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) company responsible for the section of road.

Transport Scotland is the national transport agency for Scotland. We are responsible for managing Scotland’s trunk road network on behalf of the Scottish Ministers.
On our behalf, the trunk road and motorway network is managed and maintained by private sector Operating Companies. 

They are contracted to carry out day-to-day inspection, management, maintenance and repairs to the trunk road network.  The Operating Companies are under contract to take reasonable care to maintain the network in a condition which is safe for road users (who themselves require to exercise reasonable care in their use of the network).

Process for claims

Under the terms of the contracts with the Operating Companies, Scottish Ministers are indemnified by these Operating Companies against claims. This means that claims for damage to personal property or personal injury claims should in the first instance be directed to the appropriate Operating Company for the area in question.
Should you wish to make a claim arising out of an incident on the trunk road and motorway network, in order to assist the Operating Company in considering your claim, you should:

  • State the precise location and time of the incident
  • Provide any supporting evidence that you may have

Please do not revisit the scene as a pedestrian to take photographs - whatever the road, this is likely to be highly dangerous, and in the case of the motorway network would be a criminal offence.