Chapter 15 Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity
The Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity (TIC) portfolio is responsible for physical and digital connectivity and infrastructure; for energy policy and delivery; for transport policy and strategy; for City Region and Growth Deals and for implementation of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 through the National Islands Plan. It includes Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government's national agency with responsibility for delivery of transport policy and strategy, public transport services, transport infrastructure including the trunk road network, accessibility and active travel and transport's contribution to the development of a low carbon economy. This also entails the sponsorship of a number of public bodies.
Key Inequalities of Outcome
Within the budget for the Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity portfolio, investment is targeted to ensure key sections of the population, such as older and disabled people, are able to access sustainable and reliable transport options, to support those on lower incomes to ensure they have access to essential services and to address the impacts of rurality and remoteness.
Those on lower incomes face additional challenges in maintaining social connections or accessing employment or training opportunities due to the affordability and availability of transport options.
People in lower income households are more likely to travel by bus, while those in higher income households are more likely to travel by car. In addition, lower-income households are far less likely to have access to one or more cars compared with higher-income households.
Women are also more likely to travel by bus and less likely to travel by rail than men. A greater proportion of Scotland's part-time workforce are women, reflecting a gendered division of labour that is evident across the UK and Europe. Women are also more likely to be in low-paid work, with almost two-thirds of people paid below the Living Wage being women. A lack of adequate public transport provision creates further barriers to women accessing employment and educational opportunities.
Key issues for young people in relation to transport include the availability and cost of public transport, particularly to further and higher education, and personal safety when using services. Evidence shows that there has been a decline in the number of domestic trips being undertaken by young people (aged 17 to 29).
Scotland's population is also ageing and the proportion of disabled adults or those with a long-term limiting mental or physical health condition is also increasing as the population ages. Between 2008 and 2017, the proportion of both disabled women and men or those who had a long-term limiting mental or physical health condition increased.
Barriers to travel can create considerable problems for disabled people, particularly in accessing employment opportunities and key services such as health. The provision of transport to health and social care can be a challenge for disabled and older people.
Affordability is also an issue for disabled people. While there is a National Concessionary Travel Scheme for those eligible, disabled people are more likely to experience affordability barriers to transport relative to people who are not disabled. A lower proportion of disabled people are in employment compared to those who are not disabled, and are more likely to be affected by poverty than those who are not disabled. These barriers lead to lower levels of travel amongst disabled people.
Transport challenges differ across regions of Scotland. Satisfaction with public transport in large urban areas is considerably higher compared to accessible rural areas.
Those living in remote and rural areas face many different transport challenges when carrying out their daily lives compared to, for example, those living in less rural areas of the mainland and urban areas. Transport costs can be a real challenge for those on low incomes living in rural areas, particularly when needing to access employment and essential services such as health and education.
The relatively high cost and low levels of frequency of public transport can also have a disproportionate impact on young people and disabled people, creating further challenges in finding and taking up opportunities in employment, education or training.
Island communities face similar issues to those living in remote and rural areas, but in many cases the challenges can be greater. Longer commutes compounded by higher fuel prices; issues around integrated timetabling; the additional cost of making occasional trips to the mainland; and additional ferry/air costs for inter-island travel and for delivery of goods and services exacerbate the issues of remoteness and inequality for Island communities.
Key Strategic Budget Priorities
From energy policy through to the infrastructure that underpins the effective functioning of our economy and society, the TIC portfolio priorities contribute to all the National Outcomes that form part of the National Performance Framework. Our islands work directly contributes to all of the National Outcomes through the National Islands Plan.
Our overarching priority is to ensure sustainable inclusive economic growth across all of Scotland's communities and that all of Scotland has the transport, energy and digital connectivity infrastructure needed to deliver real economic benefits and improved connectivity, whilst protecting our climate and improving lives across our urban, rural and island communities.
We will deliver these priorities by:
- investing in digital infrastructure and extending superfast broadband access;
- enabling and encouraging sustainable development, enterprise and investment in key transport infrastructure, including Scotland's lifeline ferry services;
- investing in decarbonising transport across all modes to tackle the Climate Emergency;
- promoting active travel and healthy travel choices;
- improving bus priority infrastructure and providing vital transport links to improve physical connectivity and a range of improved National Outcomes;
- supporting economic development in cities and their regions;
- working with island stakeholders to implement the National Islands Plan; and
- investing in heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency to help reduce emissions from homes and buildings.
Equality And Fairer Scotland Duty Implications of The Scottish Budget 2020-21
Decisions on budget and spending for the Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Portfolio impact upon particular groups, individuals and communities, particularly those who depend on public transport and who may be affected by its cost.
We recognise that bus services are very important for, and are used more frequently by, women, older people, younger people and those on lower incomes. They offer affordable travel for all, though are used more frequently by those on lower incomes. Bus travel can also help reduce congestion and improve air quality by reducing car use, and offer health benefits as a form of active travel when used as a part of a multi-stage journey.
In 2020-21, we will invest £10 million on bus priority infrastructure to reduce the impacts of congestion on bus services, including establishing the Bus Partnership Fund which supports implementation of the Transport Act. The Fund will support local transport authorities to work in partnership with bus operators to deliver bus priority measures that make bus services faster, more reliable, and to leverage other bus service improvements, such as reduced fares and extended bus networks so that more people travel by bus.
We are maintaining our budget for the Bus Service Operators Grant in 2020-21 (£54.2 million) which subsidises all services. This makes the network more extensive and fares lower than would otherwise be the case.
We will continue to provide free bus travel to those who need it most through the National Concessionary Travel Scheme, at a cost of around £226 million in 2020-21. The National Concessionary Travel Scheme currently provides free bus travel on local or Scottish long-distance buses for Scotland's older people aged 60 or over and disabled people, including eligible veterans. In 2020-21, we will also introduce free travel for a parent or carer travelling with an eligible disabled child aged under 5. The National Concessionary Travel Scheme has had positive impacts on the physical and mental wellbeing of cardholders, reducing isolation and helping disabled users to access employment and educational opportunities. We are currently running a pilot to provide free bus travel for Modern Apprentices (MAs) in Shetland, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, the aim of which is to better understand the impact free bus travel would have in supporting apprentices with the costs they incur accessing training for employment. Analysis of MA starts in recent years show a greater proportion living in the 20% most deprived areas than those living in the 20% least deprived. We are also working towards extending the National Concessionary Travel Scheme during 2020-21 to include recipients of the Young Carers Grant.
We are investing around £4 million in 2020-21 to deliver on the Scottish Government's vision that 'all journeys on Scotland's public transport networks can be accessed using some form of smart ticketing or payment.' This work includes supporting locally-focused attainment schemes, using smart ticketing to provide access to discounted or free travel by loading smart travel tickets onto Young Scot or other smartcards. This helps to improve access to travel which in turn enables greater access to work, education or leisure activities.
The National Concessionary Travel Scheme is smart-enabled through the National Entitlement Card. This will improve social mobility, as it simplifies the travel experience for users of the scheme. The Young Scot National Entitlement Card is also smart-enabled, and provides discounted travel on both bus and rail for card holders aged 16-18.
The Scottish Government is committed to building an active nation where communities are shaped around people, with walking and cycling the most popular choice for shorter everyday journeys. It is also committed to providing affordable, greener, healthier travel options for more people as part of our climate justice response.
In 2020-21, we will increase our investment in active travel to over £85 million, enabling the delivery of high quality walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure and supporting work to encourage more people to choose active and sustainable travel. This investment will create safe, segregated walking and cycling routes in towns and cities across Scotland which, in tandem with the public transport system, will ensure that cheaper, healthier and greener forms of travel are available to more people.
We will encourage behaviour change by offering support to a wider range of public, third and community sector organisations to promote active and sustainable travel for everyone. Schemes that we will continue to fund in 2020-21, including more targeted children's cycle training and our Social Housing Fund, will deliver benefits to people living in areas of higher deprivation, and help address issues such as transport poverty, isolation and health inequalities. In addition, schemes such as interest free e-bike trials and loans, subsidised bike hire and cycle training underpin our responsibility to make active travel a viable alternative for all communities across Scotland.
We will continue to support the uptake of electric vehicles through incentives for consumers, businesses and the public sector and the further development of world-class charging infrastructure. In 2020-21, we will make over £40 million of funding available to continue to enable more consumers and businesses to make the switch to electric vehicles and we will extend the eligibility of the Low Carbon Transport Loan to include used electric vehicles and range-extended models to ensure more households can take advantage of the switch to Electric Vehicles (EVs).
We have invested almost £30 million since 2012 to fund the development of a comprehensive electric vehicle charging network across Scotland, which now includes over 1,200 publicly available charge points. In 2020-21 we will provide over £15 million of funding in continued investment to support phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, which will include significant expansion of EV charging infrastructure across Scotland with our investment aligned to making the network more resilient. In 2020-21, we will invest £10 million to accelerate the development of zero emission buses and supporting infrastructure.
We are working with Scottish industry and academia to ensure that Scotland's economy and workforce is positioned to benefit from large-scale investment in low carbon mobility. We will continue to invest in Scotland's colleges, through the Energy Skills Partnership, to build their capacity and capability to deliver training for electric vehicle repair and maintenance and to anticipate future skills needs to support low carbon mobility.
In 2020-21, we will invest £182 million in major infrastructure projects to improve Scotland's road network. We want to improve accessibility on the trunk road network and when undertaking maintenance work we will ensure that any barriers to accessibility are addressed which will help to improve access for disabled road users and pedestrians. Through our Roads for All Forum, we will continue to engage with particular communities to ensure equality implications are considered going forward.
The Scottish Government is committed, through Scotland's Road Safety Framework to 2020, to achieving safer road travel in Scotland and protecting vulnerable road users such as children, pedestrians and pedal cyclists. Although pedestrian casualties among adults and children were at the lowest level since records began in 2018, there remains higher casualty rates in our most deprived areas.
Effective management of speed is an important component of casualty reduction programmes. In 2020-21, we will continue to fund the Scottish Safety Camera Programme at a cost of £4.65 million. This programme aims to reduce the number of casualties on Scotland's roads by encouraging improved driver behaviour and speed limit compliance. We will also continue to fund implementation of our Road Safety Framework in 2020-21, which has focus on vulnerable road users including younger, older and disabled people.
We will continue our significant investment in Scotland's railways with investment of approximately £1,259 million during 2020-21. Through our funding of the ScotRail franchise, we will continue to deliver a range of fare offers to customers on all routes, including reduced fares for job seekers and the newly employed. Our funding also includes the minor works budget which provides £350,000 a year to improve facilities across the network, removing barriers to travel and promoting confidence in the use of rail by disabled people and people with reduced mobility.
The ScotRail fleet now has 70 modern class 385 Hitachi trains and is nearing the end of a significant refurbishment programme of the existing fleets, at a cost of £475 million over the franchise term. This is to meet current accessibility standards ensuring improved facilities for all customers. All 70 of the C385s are fully complaint with the Persons of Reduced Mobility (PRM) regulations including accessible toilet, two spaces for wheelchair users with tables, call for aid plus visual and aural announcements. In addition, ScotRail operate over 2,400 services every day which offer around 8,000 dedicated wheelchair spaces with companion and priority seating. Since 2007, Scotland also has 47 more fully accessible stations, benefiting disabled rail users.
In 2020-21, we will publish the second Accessible Travel Annual Delivery Plan. This will build on our commitment to enable more disabled people to make successful door-to-door journeys more often; to ensure that disabled people are more involved in the design, development and improvement of transport policies, services and infrastructure; and that disabled people feel comfortable and safe using public transport – this includes being free from hate crime, bullying and harassment when travelling.
We will continue to support Disability Equality Scotland to develop and host the accessible travel hub, providing a single source of quality-assured information to help disabled people to travel.
The National Islands Plan is underpinned by the principles of fairness and inclusivity. It fully reflects our commitment to equality and human rights for all islanders including women and young people. Our resources and activities will be carefully targeted where needed the most, and we will continue to work closely with island communities so they have a say in decisions that directly affect them.
Access for our island communities is important in addressing the impacts of remoteness and rurality, reflecting the lifeline role played by Scotland's support ferry networks.
We are committed to maintaining and improving lifeline ferry services that play a key role in supporting the economic, social and cultural development of island and remote mainland communities.
In 2014-15, we established the Ferries Accessibility Fund which has delivered over £1 million in investments so far via ferry and port operators to make travel by ferry more accessible for those with limited mobility. In 2020-21, we will continue to use this across the ferry network and have opened the fund up to Third Sector organisations to continue to improve facilities and access at harbours for those with accessibility issues.
Older people aged 60 or over, disabled people and young people aged 16-18 who live on an island will also benefit from the continuation of reduced ferry travel costs through national and local concessionary schemes. We have reduced ferry fares for islanders on Northern Isles services where possible and we will continue to seek to introduce Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) fares on all Northern Isles ferry services. This follows the full roll-out of RET on Clyde and Hebrides ferry services.
We will continue to fund the Air Discount Scheme and the Public Service Obligation air services to Barra, Campbeltown and Tiree. This will ensure that those living in some of the most remote parts of Scotland continue to benefit from access to the mainland and reduced air fares.
High quality digital connectivity across all of Scotland will be a driver for sustainable and inclusive economic growth and a key enabler of tackling climate change and transitioning to a low carbon economy. The continuation of our R100 programme in 2020-21 will continue to improve access for disadvantaged groups to products and services (including key public services such as education and healthcare) while supporting greater inclusion, equality and participation, particularly for vulnerable groups. R100 follows on our Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme, which is now nearing completion having extended fibre broadband access to over 940,000 premises across Scotland, delivering positive impacts on social inclusion and wellbeing.
Extending access to online services helps to ensure that all citizens and consumers, regardless of their location, can benefit from lower prices, wider choice, time savings and reduced need to travel. Our R100 and DSSB programmes are specifically aimed at extending broadband access for those who would otherwise be excluded.
Improving digital connectivity for all will also have wider impacts such as in health and social care. Digital connectivity can enable remote access to information, care and support, enabling a more inclusive healthcare system where geographic barriers or physical impairments are more easily overcome. This is outlined in Scotland's Digital Health and Care strategy.
We aim to obtain maximum sustainable economic value from the development of Scotland's energy system, promoting a secure, efficient and sustainable energy supply, which maximises the economic and social outcomes of the transition to a lower carbon Scotland. This is essential to Scotland's 2045 net zero target being met.
In 2020-21, we will continue to support onshore and offshore wind, hydro, wave and tidal energy projects, recognising that renewable energy developments are a vital part of Scotland's transition to a low carbon economy.
Through our Local Energy Policy Statement, we will ensure that energy policy is shaped by the views of people and communities, taking into consideration the variety of ways people access and use energy.
Funding of £204 million has been allocated in 2020-21 to continue the commitment to the City Region and Growth Deals already agreed and we will continue to progress the deals in development. We have committed to 100 per cent coverage of Scotland with growth deals. Four deals are now fully in place, four are at Heads of Terms, and we are also working to finalise the remaining four growth deals across the rest of the country. We are collaborating with local authorities and other regional partners as deals are developed and delivered to ensure maximum impact for communities and addressing inequalities both within and between regions in Scotland.
All City Region and Growth Deals are focused on inclusive growth and aim to ensure that all sections of the community benefit from the investments. Across the deals, partnerships are prioritising people in the most deprived communities and those furthest from the labour market – disabled people, ethnic minorities and women in STEM – for employment. These priorities are developed by the local authorities and partnerships and so are responsive to the local economy and local circumstances.
The assessment of the 2020-21 Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Budget highlights its positive impacts to create a fairer, more equal Scotland; reflects our ongoing commitment to improving physical and digital connectivity; and to providing a sustainable, low carbon transport system.