Regional Transport Strategy approved for consultation alongside work to understand the impact of Covid-19 on travel behaviour.
A ten-week consultation to continue the discussion on the draft Regional Transport Strategy will start this summer.
The Nestrans’ draft Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) will shape transport policies and actions for the period up until 2040.
Board members discussed the most recent version of the draft on the 24 June. Introducing the proposed strategy, Nestrans Director Rab Dickson said that he believed the plan was “realistic”, yet “ambitious”. The strategy looks to address key challenges whilst sifting out unrealistic projects with poor business cases or ones that were unlikely to secure funding during the strategy period.
Chair of Nestrans, Councillor Sandra Macdonald and Board Members commended the efforts to date in producing the document, including the work of officers and the valuable feedback received over the last year from workshops, stakeholder meetings and online discussion papers.
The Board agreed to instruct officers to prepare the consultation which will begin over the summer and conclude mid-autumn. Officers were also asked to investigate whether a virtual exhibition option is feasible.
The Board also had before it a report on the Nestrans response to Coronavirus. Transport Strategy Manager Paul Finch outlined how officers were making best use of resources to respond to emerging priorities, recognising that these are short term actions, but which are still compatible with the longer-term vision.
Efforts are also being made to understand how the pandemic and its restrictions will impact on the legacy of the transport network. A series of monthly travel surveys will start in July for a period of ten months. Funded by the Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund, the on-going survey will investigate how travel attitudes, behaviours and habits are changing as we progress through the Covid-19 recovery phases.
The Board also discussed the latest Nestrans annual monitoring report, which details over 40 indicators that measure the progress of the objectives of the current Regional Transport Strategy to 2021.
Presenting the report, the Director highlighted that whilst the figures were the most recent that were available, the statistics were from a pre-Covid point-in-time, with the pandemic expected to make a significant impact on findings in future reports.
The Board also noted that there would be the opportunity at a future meeting to identify and consider new targets which Nestrans would use to measure the progress of the next RTS.