toggle nav


Lack of progress on key trends shows “wasted decade” on Scottish transport policy

Published 21 January 2016 by Colin Howden

Transform Scotland

Embargoed for use: 10:00, Thursday 21 January 2016

Scottish Government National Transport Strategy announcement:
Lack of progress on key trends shows “wasted decade” on Scottish transport policy

Transform Scotland [1] today (Thurs 21st) responded to the Scottish Government’s launch of the revised National Transport Strategy (a ‘refresh’ of the strategy first published in 2006).

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said:

“It is tragic that there has been absolutely no progress over the past decade in moving people from cars on to public transport. As the new strategy sets out, the past decade has seen a 2% increase in traffic levels, while public transport use has declined by 6%. [2]

“Whether one wants to tackle congestion, improve connectivity, or cut emissions, the evidence in this new strategy highlights a wasted decade in improving Scotland’s transport.”

Colin Howden, a member of the stakeholder group which advised on the new strategy, concluded:

“We’ve been very happy to have provided assistance to the Government in the ‘refresh’ of the 2006 strategy, and have been impressed by the collaborative attitude of the civil servants involved in its preparation.

“However, given the failure of the 2006 strategy to reverse negative trends in transport, we have no confidence that this updated strategy will bring any more success.

“A further review of transport strategy after May’s elections would serve little purpose. What is instead required is a fundamental review of the Scottish Government’s spending priorities. Over the past five years, the current administration has transferred its capital spending into building new roads at the expense of investment in sustainable transport, while the draft Scottish Budget announced only last month delivered a further massive hike in spending on new road-building whilst cutting investment in public transport. [3] This is the only useful focus for discussion after May’s elections.”



[1] Transform Scotland is the national alliance for sustainable transport, bringing together organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors — see <> for details.

[2] See page 12, final para, of the new National Transport Strategy — see

[3] Draft Scottish Budget 2016/17: The ‘Motorways & Trunk Roads’ budget line (Table 12.01) increases from £694.8m to £820.3m. The sum of the ‘Concessionary Fares & Bus Services’, ‘Ferry Services’ and ‘Rail Services’ lines falls from £1,256m to £1,211.2m.