Delegates assessed the priorities for national investment in transport and for Scotland’s strategic infrastructure.
The conference took place as the second Strategic Transport Projects Review commenced, which will consider future investment in all modes of transport including road and rail, and ahead of the publication later this year of the second National Transport Strategy (NTS2) - a nationwide assessment of Scotland’s transport needs by Transport Scotland.
Key discussion points included:
- The National Transport Strategy - looking ahead to Transport Scotland’s vision for reforming the transport system;
- Key infrastructure projects - planning, delivery and supporting sustainable economic growth;
- Connectivity - priorities for improvement across rural and urban Scotland;
- Identifying priorities for Scotland - transport, inclusive growth and a wellbeing economy; and
- Improving health and promoting social inclusion through transport: access, urban design and reducing pollution in Scotland’s towns and cities.
The event considered the next steps for developing integrated infrastructure networks, with the aim of developing a transport system which supports Scotland’s Economic Strategy to boost growth, reduce emissions and meet the needs of residents, road users and pedestrians.
Delegates shared the latest thinking on delivering key infrastructure projects - including realising the National Infrastructure Mission and priorities for the next Infrastructure Investment Plan. In addition to the Strategic Review, discussion included the changes to the planning system in the Planning (Scotland) Act.
The conference also addressed challenges and key opportunities for improving connectivity across both urban and rural areas of Scotland.
It was a well-timed event as:
- The Glasgow Connectivity Commission recommended creating a city-wide metro system;
- City of Edinburgh Council consulted on the proposed strategy for Edinburgh City Centre Transformation (ECCT) - with proposals including a network of car-free streets, a walking and cycling bridge and a free city centre hopper bus; and
- The Scottish Government considered Glasgow and Edinburgh’s proposals as part of the National Transport Strategy and attempts to balance the needs of all communities.
Those who attended discussed how best to tackle challenges related to equality of access to transport and ensuring social inclusion alongside health and wellbeing considerations, and the potential for design and the built environment to promote better wellbeing.
Following the introduction of low emission zones and the proposed Workplace Parking Levy in the Transport Bill, delegates examined the efficacy of these measures as a means of achieving the Scottish Government’s aim to achieve net zero emission status by 2045.
The vibrant discussion also included issues such as how best to measure effectiveness, assessment of the impact on businesses and motorists, and considered the role of local authorities in implementing and developing local transport strategies.