Publication - FOI/EIR release

Journey times, transport integration and strategy for easing motorway congestion: EIR release

Published: 17 Dec 2018

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Published:
17 Dec 2018
Journey times, transport integration and strategy for easing motorway congestion: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/18/03256  
Date received: 3 November 2018 
Date responded: 12 December 2018
 
Information requested

 

“Please can you send me your Latest Strategy Paper for easing the daily congestion on the M8, M80, M73, M74, M90 & A720. I am looking for information on: -

A - What are your strategic plans to keep traffic flowing over the next 3 years (i.e. not the reactive work you do responding to incidents etc). Specifically what is the strategy other than more road building? How will you measure performance against this strategy?

B - What journey times do you monitor currently, and what are the actual and target journey times currently being achieved.

C - How do you integrate with operators of (a) trains; (b) buses; and (c) lift share operators”.

 

We reworded your request and on 5 November and asked for clarification on whether all topics within your original request was covered to which you responded on 6 November with, “Only amendment point 2. Is to cover “current levels, and future growth.”

1.   Transport Scotland’s strategy for easing the daily congestion on the M8, M80, M73, M74, M90 & A720.

2.   Any strategic plans to keep traffic flowing over the next 3 years (not incident related i.e. relating to traffic growth)

3.   Any strategic plans with regard to easing congestion which do not involve road building.

4.   Information on how TS will/ do measure performance against this strategy.

5.   Information on what journey times TS monitor currently, and what are the actual and target journey times currently being achieved.

6.   Information on how TS integrate with operators of (a) trains; (b) buses; and (c) lift share operators.

 

We clarified for a second time on 13 November to ask what you meant by ‘integration’ within your request and if possible the type of information you are looking for us to provide.  You responded on 15 November;

“My interest is in the effects of road traffic on climate change, and the general frustration of delays from driving regularly on these roads. By integration I mean discussions to collaborate better in moving people around Scotland efficiently, economically and in an environmentally friendly way.”

 
Response

 

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations.  We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA. 

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’.  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes.  This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

1. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Transport Scotland does not have the information you have requested.  Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.  The reason why this applies is that there is no strategy or paper for easing daily congestion on these routes held by Transport Scotland.

 

2. The Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR1), published in December 2008, sets out the Scottish Government's 29 transport investment priorities over the period to 2032.  The STPR has been undertaken using an objective-led, evidence-based approach to appraise potential means of addressing transport issues. This approach is compatible with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) methodology. This approach ensures that the Government's priorities of a Wealthier and Fairer, Healthier, Safer and Stronger, Smarter and Greener Scotland are met and that investment is targeted on those recommendations that most effectively support improving Scotland’s sustainable economic development. The Review can be found in full at https://www.transport.gov.scot/our-approach/strategy/strategic-transport-projects-review/#

 

3. The National Transport Strategy provides the framework for enhancing our transport system, in response to the main transport challenges that Scotland faces, which in turn contributes to improvement in our economic, environmental and social performance. The current National Transport Strategy sets out three Key Strategic Outcomes to be used as the guiding principles at national, regional and local level when developing strategy and prioritising resources.

These are:

• Improved journey times and connections, to tackle congestion and lack of integration and connections in transport

• Reduced emissions, to tackle climate change, air quality, health improvement

• Improved quality, accessibility and affordability, to give choice of public transport, better quality services and value for money or alternative to car.

The National Transport Strategy can be found in full at;

 https://www.transport.gov.scot/our-approach/strategy/national-transport-strategy/#.

Transport Scotland is currently taking forward a comprehensive review of the National Transport Strategy (NTS) and the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR).  The review of the NTS will set out the compelling vision for transport for the next 20 years and will inform policy across transport and an update to the STPR.  Work is now underway for STPR2 which will allow the Scottish Government to consider which transport interventions are required to deliver the outcomes and vision that emerge from the NTS.  An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to both the review of the NTS and STPR as the information you have requested because it is still in the course of completion. Transport Scotland has a commitment to publish within the term of the current Parliament.

This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’.  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception.  We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government.  However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still in being worked on or is under active consideration is not disclosed when it might misinform the public or give a misleading impression of the Government’s view or position on the matter to which the information relates.

 

4. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Transport Scotland does not have the information you have requested.  Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.  The reason why that exception applies is there is no strategy therefore we do not measure performance against it.  Whilst Transport Scotland plans on measuring performance, this is not something that is developed yet so we have no information to share at this stage.

 

5. The spreadsheet in Appendix A contains a list of links on the M8, M80, M73, M74, M90 & A720 for which journey times are currently monitored.  The spreadsheet also contains information on the actual journey times areas requested.  These are covered by 179 discrete links which is used within the Transport Scotland Journey Time System to divide the network into sections covered by equipment capable of monitoring journey times.  The ‘Links’ tab in the spreadsheet Appendix A details these links. 

The links highlighted yellow on the ‘Links’ tab in the spreadsheet denotes that either partial, or no journey time data available for these links.  Each of the other tabs give the average journey time, in 5 minute increments, for the 5 week period preceding the date of extraction of the report (26 November 2018), for each of the links within the roads requested.

Where data is not available, the system uses a default journey time for the link, meaning that in some instances the journey times reported are based on this value as opposed to actual journey times.   This is the case for journey times listed where the column labelled ‘realDataUsed’ contains a zero.

( Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload the documents referred to above.
If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide. ) 

There are no target journey times on M8, M80, M73, M74, M90 & A720.

Please be advised that Transport Scotland is currently reviewing the journey time system to offer greater link granularity and incorporate more data sources.  The base source is also being moved to use 3rd party data to increase availability and reduce reliance on roadside equipment.

 

6. Links to our national transport strategy have been provided in question 2 and 3, in which we set out our approach to reducing carbon emissions.  Transport Scotland is also dealing with the effects of climate change in our strategies for climate change adaptation.  The most recent developments will be included in the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP2) which is due to publish in 2019.  The work and the previous SCCAP is explained in more detail at https://www.gov.scot/policies/climate-change/climate-change-adaptation/

Transport Scotland's approach is summarised at

https://www.transport.gov.scot/our-approach/environment/climate-change/#

We also consider that collaboration is an important factor of tackling climate change and for that reason we are part of the Climate Ready Clyde initiative which aims to make the Glasgow City Region well adapted for the future. 

http://climatereadyclyde.org.uk/

 
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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000 

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