Scotland Policy Conferences

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email

The new National Transport Strategy (NTS2) - assessing the strategy and addressing the challenges for implementation

TO BE PUBLISHED December 2020

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference is bringing together key stakeholders and policymakers to assess the final National Transport Strategy 2 (NTS2).

Delegates will examine key issues for implementation and next steps for delivery - including the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on planning and execution, as schools begin to reopen and near-normal rail services resume.

The discussion at a glance:

  • NTS2 - how objectives and priorities in National Transport Strategy 2 around inclusivity and protecting communities can be achieved:
    • transport modernisation - assessing Scotland’s transport system needs, addressing deficiencies in travel access and options, project design, and engagement with development stakeholders
    • serving Scottish communities - tackling health and access inequalities, increasing connections between rural areas and employment centres, and supporting rural businesses and economies
    • meeting passengers priorities - supporting journey affordability, adapting to changing passenger and commuter preferences, and growing intermodal options for transport connectivity
  • City Region Deals - their role in delivering transport improvement strategies, including road and public transport infrastructure capacity, and increasing connectivity between cities
  • services - next steps for improvement and returning to normal services in the wake of COVID-19 whilst preserving measures around safety:
    • public confidence and safety - latest thinking on implementing social distancing and other safety precautions, and encouraging passengers back to public transport
    • service availability - ensuring safe, reliable transport access is available as lockdown measures are relaxed, including meeting the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable passengers
  • infrastructure - ensuring the network can meet future needs:
    • new infrastructure - tackling engineering and other challenges for development in preparing Scotland’s transport infrastructure for future pressures and opportunities  
    • legacy assets - priorities for further development of Scotland’s existing transport network, and ensuring rail and road capacity is prepared for growing passenger and freight demand
    • delivery - working with the regulatory regime, addressing project barriers, partnership working with key and local stakeholders, and strategies for reducing project costs
    • futureproofing - preparing the transport network expected growth in electric vehicle use, including strategic rural, suburban and city locations for charging infrastructure
  • health, wellbeing and the environment - the role of the transport network as it develops in maintaining and improving healthy lives in Scotland:
    • decarbonisation - assessing steps for ensuring new modes of transport are low-carbon and present minimal damage to the environment
    • contribution to society - opportunities for transport in improving social cohesion and reducing poverty and ensuring a healthier transport system and environment leads to greater wellbeing
    • active travel - expanding options in Scotland, including walking and cycling facilities, clearer information on travel routes and options, and making healthy transport more attractive
    • air quality - accelerating the transition to low-carbon forms of transport across the system, options for emissions limits, and improving access to green spaces
    • just transition - managing the net-zero transition in a way that protects sections of society where change presents risks such as falling into poverty or other forms of disadvantage

A scan of key developments:

  • Scotland’s National Transport Strategy 2 - which outlines a vision for the development of the national transport system over the next 20 years - including around improving rural, suburban and city connectivity, addressing health and wellbeing challenges, decarbonising the network, and ensuring transport enhancements support economic growth
  • Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme - recently launched with £9m investment for this year, focusing on ultra-low emission technologies
  • Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan - from Transport Scotland, aiming to drive innovation, skilled employment and growth, including a modal shift to rail and removing diesel passenger trains
  • City Region Deals - and their objectives around delivering tailored investments for specific priorities, such as developing city-wide infrastructure and local economies
  • Scottish Budget 2020-2021 - including over £1bn for developing low-carbon infrastructure, active travel facilities, and improved services for rail, road and buses
  • Key findings report: A blueprint for Scotland - Infrastructure Commission for Scotland recommendations for the development of Scotland’s critical infrastructure - including ensuring that the transport system alleviates congestion and capacity issues and meets decarbonisation and net zero aims, and coordinated delivery involving local governments and delivery partners
  • Further relevant reports and interventions:
    • the Just Transition Commission Interim Report - outlining ways in which social and climate goals can be achieved through transition plans, and ensuring rural areas are not left behind
    • The Environment Strategy for Scotland: vision and outcomes - setting a long-term vision for protecting and restoring the environment, while also coordinating efforts with adjacent strategies like the NTS2

The agenda:

  • The NTS2 and next steps for meeting key objectives - transport modernisation, design of projects, and achieving inclusivity and growth
  • Applying the Strategy locally - engagement with passengers and the needs of rural communities, regional connectivity, and delivering safe services during the COVID-19 crisis
  • Placing the environment at the centre of transport planning - emissions, air quality, and preserving landscapes
  • Priorities for tackling the delivery challenges for new transport infrastructure in Scotland
    • Assessing where local need is greatest for rail and road modernisation in Scotland, and how existing assets can be utilised more effectively
    • Planning for future transport needs, tackling congestion, and ensuring transport networks are fit for purpose in cities and other built environments
    • Preparing Scotland for electric vehicles capacity - rolling out charging capabilities, connection to the grid, and ensuring rural regions are not left behind
    • Incorporating best practice in the delivery of transport projects, and working with the policy and regulatory framework
  • Expanding healthy forms of transport and improving health and wellbeing throughout Scotland
  • Policy priorities for decarbonising transport, improving connectivity, and delivering the wider policy programme for inclusivity and economic growth in Scotland

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This conference looks no different. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from The Scottish Parliament, and officials from The Scottish Government; Transport Scotland; the Office of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner; and the Department for Transport.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Scotland Policy Conferences seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates