4 MAKING THE LINKS: TRAVEL
BEING ABLE TO TRAVEL - TO SEE PEOPLE, TO GET TO WORK, TO EXPLORE OUR WORLD - IS VITAL TO OUR SENSE OF WELL-BEING. MORE SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL CHOICES SUCH AS CYCLING AND WALKING BRING MAJOR HEALTH AS WELL AS ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS. GOOD TRANSPORT LINKS HELP PLACES TO FUNCTION AND COMMUNITIES TO THRIVE
Outside Waverley Station, Edinburgh
4.1 Being able to travel - to see people, to get to work, to explore our world - is vital to our sense of well-being. More sustainable travel choices such as cycling and walking bring major health as well as environmental benefits. Good transport links help places to function and communities to thrive. But transport also puts pressure on our natural resources - land, air quality and especially energy, mainly fossil fuels - and makes a significant contribution to our global environmental impact: it accounts for some 28% of our energy use and 27% of our net greenhouse gas emissions 7.
4.2 Transport is an area where the challenges of sustainable development are particularly acute. Business and commerce rely on transport to grow our economy: without freight transport no goods would get to market or to consumers; without the ability for people to travel to their work, we could not do business and create jobs; and without international aviation business and tourism would suffer. But transport has significant social, economic and environmental downsides too. For example, road traffic can be hazardous to health (in terms of accidents and poorer local air quality) and unrestricted increases in car use will lead to increased congestion, stifling economic growth in our cities.
4.3 These challenges have become more acute in recent years. The amount that people in Scotland travel per year is increasing - figures for average miles travelled in 2002-03 are 43% higher than figures for 1985-86 8. In particular, the car is the dominant mode of travel and use of the car is steadily going up - road traffic has grown by 19% over the last 10 years.
Edinburgh CityCarClub is the largest in Britain, operated by Smart Moves with the support of the City of Edinburgh Council. It offers an alternative to traditional car ownership through pay-as-you-drive car hire. Members have local access to a car when they need one and only pay for the time it is in use and the miles driven. Cars are parked in reserved parking spaces, close to homes or workplaces and can be booked on-line or by telephone. All vehicles are serviced and maintained by the club, which means members don't have the expense or bother of dealing with servicing, repairs, insurance, MOTs, road tax and cleaning.
CityCarClub provides a hassle-free alternative to traditional car ownership. It suits people with a variety of transport needs, from those living within 10 minutes' walk from a bay to those only needing a car on odd days. By only paying for the time they use the cars, members save money and help reduce the number of cars on the road. CityCarClub cites research showing that each car in a car club typically replaces five privately owned vehicles. Fewer cars = less congestion and also quieter, cleaner, safer streets.
4.4 Aviation has seen large increases of some 91% in 10 years 9. Although aviation brings many economic benefits to Scotland it is also a major environmental issue because of greenhouse gas emissions. Subject to specific concerns being addressed regarding lifeline air services in the Highlands and Islands, the Executive supports the UK Government in seeking the inclusion of the aviation sector, which accounts for a modest but growing proportion of greenhouse gas emissions, in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
4.5 Historically economic growth has been accompanied by traffic growth but we need to break that link. We wish to support people in making the choice to use public transport, walk or cycle, knowing that these are healthier, safer, more sustainable modes of travel. The Scottish Executive has an aspiration to stabilise road traffic levels at 2001 levels by 2021. That is why we are making record investment in public transport and other initiatives to promote more sustainable alternatives to single-occupancy car use. This will improve safety, reduce pollution and congestion, and free up the roads for essential economic activity.
4.6 One of the key challenges for the Executive's new National Transport Strategy will be how to support Scotland's long-term economic growth while taking full account of, and reducing wherever possible, environmental impacts. The Strategy will set out a long-term vision for transport; our five key objectives for transport (economy, environment, social inclusion, safety and integration); drivers for change; and principles by which we will proceed. It is also likely to include a range of plans, policies and actions to deliver our objectives and indicators to allow us to monitor the effectiveness of the strategy, covering issues such as:
- how we might reduce the need for travel - for example by making links with planning policies and promoting the uptake of alternatives such as home working
- how we might encourage more sustainable modes of travel - by making the choice to use public transport easier through better infrastructure and services, integrated ticketing, better passenger information, and improved safety and security, and by encouraging more cycling and walking with attendant health benefits
- the need for demand management measures to make modal shift away from single occupancy car use a reality.
4.7 Similar concerns will be reflected in the regional transport strategies to be developed by regional transport partnerships, which will be required to cover:
- how to meet the need for efficient transport links between heavily populated places
- how transport will be provided, developed, improved and operated to enhance social and economic well-being
- the promotion of public safety, including road safety and the safety of users of public transport
- the principles of sustainable development, and how to conserve and enhance the environment
- the promotion of social inclusion
- the encouragement of equal opportunities
- the facilitation of access to hospitals, clinics, surgeries and other places where a health service is provided
- integration with transport elsewhere.
ACTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
4.8 The Scottish Executive will:
- Develop a new National Transport Strategy to be published by the middle of 2006, which will set out its key objectives of economic growth, social inclusion, protection of the environment and health, integration and safety, and the measures which will be taken to meet them over the medium to long term.
- Work with regional transport partnerships and give them guidance on the development of their regional transport strategies (which will require Ministerial approval).
- Promote the uptake of sustainable Travel Plans.
- Continue to use the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance ( STAG) to subject new transport projects to rigorous appraisal against economic, accessibility and social inclusion, environmental, safety and integration objectives.
- Invest substantially in public transport infrastructure and services, and continue to promote walking and cycling.
- Invest in rail infrastructure projects including rail links to Glasgow and Edinburgh airports and the Borders rail link, to improve rail services and social inclusion, and in targeted improvements to the trunk road network.
- Roll out the Scotland-wide free bus scheme for older and disabled people from 1 April 2006 to ensure that they have access to services and opportunities.
- Support initiatives to promote more efficient freight practices.