National Transport Review seeks views on rural transport needs
In this guest blog Daniel Lafferty, Transport Scotland, tells us more about the National Transport Strategy Review and how you can get involved in the discussion.
This has been a significant month for transport in Scotland. Media attention has focussed on the official opening of the spectacular new Queensferry Crossing, an engineering triumph of many years in the making, which adds a new resilient transport link between Fife and Edinburgh
But our transport system is about so much more than shiny new bridges – however good they look! And this new bridge isn't the only thing that's changing on the transport landscape.
While transport remains key in connecting people to jobs, education, public services, family and friends, we're now starting to see the emergence of new technologies that promise to change the ways in which people and goods get from A to B in the future.
More people and businesses are starting to adopt ultra low-emission vehicles (ULEVs) such as electric cars which don't use petrol or diesel. This trend looks set to continue, especially with the Scottish Government this month announcing plans to expand the electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to create Scotland`s first "electric highway" on the A9 in its Programme for Government
But it's not just about new technologies in vehicles. The widespread use of smartphones and availability of real time data has enabled the emergence of apps that can offer demand responsive door-to-door tailored transport options for individual journeys. This has become known as Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and it has the potential to transform how people travel, particularly in rural areas where there may be fewer conventional public transport options.
It’s not just transport itself that is changing – its users and their needs are too. Demographic changes such as an ageing population, the growth of single person households and more besides, coupled with technological changes, mean that this is the right time to think about what we want and need from our transport system over the next 20 years.
At the same time as thinking about what's changing we also want to address the existing challenges, including improving rural transport connectivity to give people better access to the places and services they need to go to.
That's why Transport Scotland is undertaking a review of our National Transport Strategy to explore with key stakeholders, including Scottish Rural Action, and the general public the opportunities and challenges for transport over the next twenty years. This will culminate in the publication of a draft second National Transport Strategy (NTS2) for public consultation in early 2019.
Over the next 15 months or so a host of public meetings and workshops will be held where you can contribute your views and priorities for transport. Details of these will be posted on the Transport Scotland website.
There will be online discussions, blogs and surveys on our website as we explore what our transport future might look like.
It's your transport system so make sure you have your say!