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Strong focus on demand management in Infrastructure Commission report praised

Published 20 January 2020 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland welcomes the ‘Key findings report’ published today by the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland. Amongst other things, the report calls for the prioritisation of “all new infrastructure investment decisions based on their contribution to the delivery of an inclusive net zero carbon economy”. (report p8)

Transform director Colin Howden said:

“The Commission establishes a number of important principles that should guide all new transport investment priorities. Particularly important is the strong focus on demand management, a topic upon which government has reneged on its responsibilities for far too long.

“There will be no progress in reaching net zero in transport while transport investment decisions continue to be taken on the basis of politicians’ local pet projects. So it still remains to be seen whether transport decision-makers will take on board the Commission’s recommendations.”

The Commission call for:

Prioritisation of investment around net zero carbon

“[P]rioritise all new infrastructure investment decisions based on their contribution to the delivery of an inclusive net zero carbon economy” (report p8)

Road traffic demand management

“[T]he initial focus [in transport planning decisions] should be on options which lead to i) management and reduction of demand, followed by ii) increased use of active travel, then iii) increased use of public transport and finally, iv) management of car transport.” (p60)

Align investment with demand management

“Aligning strategic investment decisions to address fully the requirement for demand management, a substantial increase in the proportion of journeys made by active travel, and opportunities for shared mobility as well as a much greater role for public transport.” (p109)

Road space reallocation to bus

“{T]o help arrest the decline in bus patronage, there should be a general programme of reallocating significant road space from private vehicles to public transport in each of Scotland’s cities and the larger towns” (p108)

Road traffic targets

“There should be a binding national target for road traffic in Scotland derived from the requirement to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2045, with targets set for each 5-year milestone from the 2020 baseline to 2045” (p108)

No road capacity increases

“[A] presumption in favour of investment to future proof existing road infrastructure and to make it safer, resilient and more reliable rather than increase road capacity.” (p109)

A new transport appraisal process

“[T]he Scottish Government and Transport Scotland should develop a new investment appraisal and decision-making process, incorporating necessary changes to the current Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) and Investment Decision Making Guidance.“ (p109)

UK-wide reform of fiscal and pricing structures

“[T]he Scottish and UK Governments should immediately commit to establish a charging/payment regime alternative to the existing fuel and road taxation based structure.” (p110)