Publication - FOI/EIR release

Improving Scotlands bus infrastructure and priorty bus lane introduction: EIR release

Published: 2 Mar 2020

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

Published:
2 Mar 2020
Improving Scotlands bus infrastructure and priorty bus lane introduction: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000013511
Date received: 28 Jan 2020
Date responded: 25 Feb 2020
Information requested

The first Minister announced in the Programme for Government in September 2019 that £500m would be spent on improving bus infrastructure in the roads around our cities i.e. a key part of which would be priority bus lanes. This could include other high occupancy vehicles too.

Please can you send me the current draft plan as it is, of when you expect the roads around Scotland’s town and cities to have bus priority lanes up and running? Split by road name/number & month of expected opening of bus priority lanes. Specifically, I am interested in when we can expect priority bus lanes to be operating M8 w/b J11–J20.

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. Bus priority measures that are planned for implementation on roads around Scotland’s towns and cities.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested in this part of your request. Therefore we are
refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.

Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. Transport Scotland is undertaking transport appraisal work for a Managed Motorways Study, further information is included in section 2. With regards to local roads, the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because it is not responsible for the local road network. Local roads are the responsibility of Scotland’s respective 32 local authorities. However, the Scottish Government will be launching a Bus Partnership Fund for local authorities to work in partnership with bus operators to deliver bus priority measures on local roads. Further details on the Fund will be set out in the coming months.

You may wish note that Transport Scotland has in recent years introduced sections of actively managed hard shoulder (AMHS) bus lanes on the M90/M9 Queensferry Crossing corridor. These are intended to encourage modal shift from private car to public transport by allowing buses to use sections of hard shoulder to offer a journey time advantage to public transport at times when the mainline traffic is moving slowly due to congestion or other factors. The AMHS bus lanes were delivered as part of the contract to construct the new Queensferry Crossing and can be suspended dynamically when required by the use of variable message signs on the motorway gantries along the route. This is managed and controlled from the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre at South Queensferry.

Further details on the extents of the AMHS measures are available at the following links: https://www.theforthbridges.org/plan-your-journey/road-user-guide/intelligent-transport-system-its/#buslane

https://www.theforthbridges.org/plan-your-journey/road-user-guide/north-road-network/

2. When we can expect priority bus lanes to be operating M8 w/b J11–J20.

At this juncture, Transport Scotland is also undertaking transport appraisal work for a Managed Motorways Study, which aims to help improve the performance of the motorway network. The development of a scheme to reallocate road space to high occupancy vehicles around Glasgow is a commitment in the Programme for Government 2019-20, as part of the Scottish Government’s transformational long term funding for buses.

The study is being undertaken in line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) and will consider a wide range of potential transport options, including options for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), bus hard shoulder running and high occupancy vehicle lanes, and will look to make the best use of the existing transport infrastructure.

This work is still under development and I would note that further more detail design work would then be required, this will include the completion of any statutory processes, followed then by a tendering process to appoint a contractor to undertake the work. Therefore, at this point in time it is not possible to give a date for implementation.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested in this part of your request. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.

Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because it does not hold these details, as it is too early in the appraisal / assessment process to offer a timeline on implementation.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
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