Scotland’s Plan for Sustainable Travel


The Scottish Government’s decarbonisation plans for transport aim to make sustainable travel ‘the instinctive first choice’.


The first annual Delivery Plan for Scotland’s National Transport Strategy (NTS2) was published in 2020. It sets out an ambitious and compelling vision for Scotland’s transport system for the next 20 years and focuses on four priorities to support the vision. These are reducing inequalities, taking climate action, delivering inclusive economic growth, and improving health and wellbeing.


Sustainable Travel Hierarchy


At the heart of the strategy, the Sustainable Travel Hierarchy prioritises walking, wheeling, cycling, public transport and shared transport over single occupancy car use.


Image: Sustainable Travel Hierarchy from the National Transport Strategy (NTS2), Transport Scotland.


This means that moving forward, Scotland’s transport system will be designed with sufficient active travel and sustainable transport options to help the population become healthier and more active, whilst reducing our impact on the environment.


Commitment to sustainable travel


The Scottish Government’s commitment to active travel is clear, and this is underpinned by the appointment of our first ever Minister for Active Travel in August 2021, Patrick Harvie MSP.


The Scottish Government’s decarbonisation plans for transport set out a range of actions. These aim to make sustainable travel ‘the instinctive first choice for people’. Particularly in urban settings, the commitments aim to reduce reliance on cars and make active, public and shared transport the travel mode of choice.


One key policy action is to significantly reduce car travel. In January 2022, Transport Scotland published ‘A route map to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in car kilometres by 2030’. Improving access to active travel options and public and shared schemes will be crucial in supporting this.