Setting the wheels in motion for Aberdeen Rapid Transit

Lucy Johnston2022, News

Today (Thursday, 24 November) marks the launch of a campaign for Aberdeen Rapid Transit (ART), as work progresses on a bid to bring new high-quality, fast and sustainable public transport to North East Scotland.

Nestrans, the Regional Transport Partnership for the North East of Scotland, and its partners are working to develop a significantly enhanced public transport offering for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Nestrans, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and bus operators have a shared vision to deliver a new system that will enable fast, frequent and reliable services; through a combination of dedicated bus lanes, off board fare collection, fast and efficient boarding and alighting. Together the partners aspire for ART to be attractive, accessible and easy to use by providing high-capacity and high-quality vehicles, and journey times competitive to car.

Councillor John Crawley, chair of Nestrans and Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “Our vision is for a cross-city network of ART priority routes that connect people to the places they want to go to, including key education, employment, healthcare, retail and leisure destinations, the airport and rail station, as well as the city centre.

“ART aims to provide a more attractive alternative to car travel for many journeys, helping to reduce congestion and air pollution, as well as better services for the many people that do not have access to a car.”

The Scottish Government’s £500 million Bus Partnership Fund (BPF) enables local authorities, in partnership with bus operators, to bid for investment in ambitious schemes to improve public transport journey times and reliability.

In 2021, the partners submitted an initial bid to the BPF, resulting in a successful £2 million award to develop the business cases and designs for ART. It is hoped that this work will result in further funding which would enable the delivery of ART, subject to formal approval by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Council.

Nestrans’ vice chair, Councillor Michael Hutchison, Aberdeen City Council, said, “Rapid Transit schemes have been successful in other cities, including in Belfast and Bristol, and I believe it can be a success for Aberdeen too.

“The delivery of our own rapid transit scheme will give us the opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and to help make the North East a better place to live, work and visit. It would be a step towards realising our ambition of making Aberdeen the net-zero capital of the world.

“We hope that people will help us to get this right for the North East. We want to hear what folk have to say, we want to make sure it is designed to meet the needs of as many people as possible, and we want to ensure Aberdeen City and Shire has a public transport system fit for the 21st century.”

There has been extensive engagement and consultation to date on potential public transport improvements as part of recent transport corridor studies being led by Aberdeen City Council and Nestrans. Over the coming months, the public will have the opportunity to help shape the ART scheme to ensure it best meets the needs of the city and its surrounding communities.

View our Aberdeen Rapid Transit project page for more information and the opportunity to share your thoughts with the project team.