The Scottish government has acknowledged that it must work harder to create a “greener and more sustainable transport network.”
These comments, from Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, come in response to the publication of Transport and Travel in Scotland 2017, which reveal that cars and cans are still the most popular mode of transport in the country, at 65%.
According to these figures, the volume of traffic on Scotland’s roads is at its highest ever level – 48 billion vehicle kilometres were recorded during the year.
This presents two challenges to the government: to get more people to use the rail network, or to ensure that road users can benefit from greener and more sustainable transport.
The Scottish government is making progress on both of these; the railways are undergoing significant electrification and signalling upgrades, for example.
On the roads, Scotland’s First Minister has recently committed extra investment for greener and ultimately, more sustainable transport.
These are directives that are needed when you consider the report reveals that, since 2013, “of all the modes (of transport), driving seems to be most resistant to change.”
It highlights that greener transport options are needed more than ever, and both commuters and businesses need encouragement to use these methods of transport.
The figures show that rail travel increased by almost a third between 2007 to 2017, but bus passenger numbers declined by more than a fifth in that time.
And Mr Matheson conceded that more needs to be done to create sustainable transport, though he feels government policy will achieve this.
“The figures highlight the work we must continue in order to develop a greener and more sustainable transport network here in Scotland.
“I am confident that the policies of this government will bring us closer to that goal than ever before.
“There is much we can welcome in the areas of rail and aviation – and encouraging signs that perceptions around electric vehicles continue to improve.”