Frequently asked questions about the Scottish trunk road network

What is a trunk road?

The Trunk Road Network connects Scotland's major cities, towns, airports and ports enabling the movement of people, goods and services. These roads are maintained by Transport Scotland and their maintenance contractors (known as Operating Companies or DBFO Contractors).

The vast majority of all other roads in Scotland are maintained by the local authorities, with some private roads being the responsibility directly by their owner.


How are trunk roads maintained and inspected?

The Road Asset Management Plan (RAMP) sets out how Scotland’s trunk road network is maintained strategically and efficiently in order to protect our assets and provide the best possible service with the resources available. The RAMP presents the type and number of trunk road assets that we are responsible for, including carriageways, footways, structures, lighting and drainage. For each asset type, the RAMP describes its current condition and the range of activities used to manage and maintain it throughout its life.

Transport Scotland has contracts with Operating Companies / DBFO Contractors who maintain each section of the Trunk Road Network.

Safety inspections are carried out in accordance with the contracts and at frequencies not exceeding seven days. Slip roads and link roads at interchanges are inspected at the same frequency as the associated main carriageway of the trunk road.  The inspection vehicle will travel around 40 mph.

Where possible safety inspections are carried out during off-peak traffic periods to minimise traffic disruption.

All inspection and safety patrol personnel are sufficiently responsible and competent for the task, will have received suitable training and be fully conversant with inspection procedures and health and safety requirements prior to undertaking any such inspections

Detailed inspections are also undertaken on each element of the trunk road asset. These are walked inspections and are typically undertaken on an annual basis (although this can change depending on the particular asset being inspected). Structures are inspected visually every two years and with touching distance every six years. Special inspections are undertaken if a specific need is identified.

What is a Category 1 defect?

The different types of defects which can occur on the trunk road network are set out in the Operating Company Contacts and are also explained below.

 "Category 1 Defect" means a Defect that necessitates prompt attention because it presents:

(i) an immediate or imminent hazard, or

(ii) a risk of rapid structural deterioration to the affected element.

"Category 2 Defect" means any Defect which is not a Category 1 Defect.”

Timescales for Repairing a Cat 1 Defect?

The Operating Company's inspection team or initial Incident Response Resources shall make the Category 1 Defect safe when identified. This shall be through executing immediate repairs, removing the hazard or by taking any other measures necessary to protect the public and other users of the Unit.

Where a Category 1 Defect renders a Trunk Road unsafe for road users, the Operating Company shall, under Police instruction or on receipt of an appropriate Order, close the relevant part of the Trunk Road for as short a period as possible while remedial action is undertaken.

Where a Category 1 Defect cannot be repaired immediately or the hazard cannot be removed, the Operating Company shall take action to make the area safe until the required temporary or permanent repairs have been completed.

The temporary or permanent repairs shall be undertaken as soon as possible and no later than:

(i) 06:00 on the day following identification for Category 1 Defects on carriageways, and

(ii) within 24 hours of identification for all other Category 1 Defects.

Where a temporary repair has been carried out, the deferred permanent repair period for the following Defect types shall be:

(i) 28 days for carriageway surface, and

(ii) 56 days for Bridge parapets.

All other Category 1 Defects shall be repaired permanently within the specific period referred to in this Part, or no later than 28 days after identification where no specific period is stated.

Category 2 defects should be logged, monitored and added to forthcoming maintenance programmes.

How are these contracts monitored?

To ensure our maintenance 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. 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.

How much is spent on road maintenance each year?

The annual budget is available by searching the Scottish Government website under the “publications” menu.

Who is responsible for litter collection on the Trunk Road Network?

Operating Companies / DBFO Contractors are responsible for litter collection on sections of the Trunk Road Network which are motorways or special roads. Local Authorities are responsible for litter collection on all other roads, including the remaining trunk roads.

Who is responsible for cutting back vegetation on the Trunk Road Network?

Operating Companies / DBFO Contractors are responsible for cutting back vegetation of the Trunk Road Network i.e. grass / shrubbery cutting.

Who is responsible for clearing drains on the Trunk Road Network?

Operating Companies / DBFO Contractors are responsible for clearing drains and gullies.

Trunk road defects

How to report a defect?

Transport Scotland provides a 24-hour Traffic Customer Care Line dedicated phone service that can be contacted by calling:

0800 028 1414

This service provides users with the ability to report road surface defects, issues relating to Variable Message Signs, carriageway obstructions, breakdowns, diesel spills and any other defects or emergencies.

Alternatively, issues that do not require an immediate response can be submitted by e-mail to:

For all local roads, please contact the relevant local authority.

How to claim compensation for damage caused by a road defect?

Read information about compensation claims.

If you would like to make a complaint in relation to your claim, please contact the relevant Operating Company / DBFO Contractor.

How many accidents are there on the Trunk Road Network?

Accident statistics are published every year on the Transport Scotland website. Read the most up to date statistical report.

How can I find Traffic Information and information on planned roadworks?

Planned trunk roadworks are listed on the Traffic Scotland website.

This information is also available from the Scottish Roadworks Register

Traffic Scotland also provides up to date information on the Scottish motorways and trunk road network in relation to:

  • accidents and current incidents
  • levels of congestion
  • severe weather warnings
  • significant planned events that impact on the network e.g. concerts
  • park and ride facilities
  • signposting to alternative public transport provision

Is CCTV of the Trunk Road Network recorded?

Traffic Scotland, who operate our CCTV camera systems, do not routinely record any CCTV or video footage from any of our camera locations, unless specifically asked to by the Police or by Transport Scotland.

Each live traffic camera image that appears on the Traffic Scotland website is captured from the video stream coming from the camera, as a static image, and held for approximately 5 minutes before being overwritten by the next image captured.

View live cameras on the trunk road network.


As the trunk road authority in Scotland, legislation requires Transport Scotland to take such steps as it considers reasonable to prevent snow and ice endangering the safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles over public roads.

Transport Scotland discharges this duty by having contracts in place with Operating Companies who ensure the trunk road network is safe, efficient and well managed.

Each Operating Company's Winter Service Manager has the delegated responsibility for all aspects of winter service provision including:

  • Ice prediction and weather forecasting service, including sensor calibration
  • Collection and management of weather data
  • Winter service decision making
  • Plant and communications
  • De-icing material stock levels and storage
  • Staff and Operative training and rosters
  • Inspection and maintenance of winter hardware
  • Maintaining records
  • Daily and annual reporting

What information is available on Gritters and Winter Salt Treatment?

View our live gritter tracker.

The Gritters an Winter Salt Treatment map view page provides details of planned winter salt treatment across Scotland following the mid-day forecast for that period.

Winter salt treatments are planned by the Operating Companies using daily detailed weather forecasts for the next 24 hours. From this, precautionary treatments are scheduled as required on routes and spreaders are also deployed to patrol routes to monitor for any changes in conditions on the ground. The Daily Action Plans continue to be made publicly available on the Traffic Scotland website by our Operating Companies throughout the winter and the information goes live at 3pm each day following receipt of the forecast.

Safety camera

Read information on the Safety Camera Program.