What will travel look like in the future?

Lucy Johnston 2020, News

Views sought on Regional Transport Strategy

Cast your mind back to the year 2000 – can you remember how you travelled to, from or within the North East?

Travel in our region has transformed in the last 20 years. Back then we had not long said farewell to the green and yellow buses of Grampian Regional Transport. We were eight years away from having the new bus station at Union Square. There was no railway station at Laurencekirk, no terminal extension at the airport, no Diamond Bridge. Work on the bid for the AWPR would not start for another three years. Real-time bus information, key-less car clubs, hydrogen and electric vehicles were all ideas for the future.

Now try to project your mind 20 years into the future – what do you think travel will look like by then? How do you want to travel?

Over the past year, Nestrans has been working in partnership with stakeholders, partners and the public to develop the next Regional Transport Strategy. The plan, known as Nestrans 2040, will shape transport policies and actions for the next 20 years.

Today, (Wednesday 5th August) a ten-week consultation period begins where you can view and share your feedback on a range of proposals.

The strategy is grouped into six themes looking at;

  • plans for travel in the city centre;
  • increasing walking & cycling;
  • a focus on alternative energy;
  • plans to address the challenges of rurality; as well as
  • improving connectivity through road and rail links.

Chair of Nestrans, Councillor Sandra Macdonald said, “We’ve had a significant amount of investment in infrastructure since we developed our last strategy. The focus of this new strategy is ensuring that we harness the benefits of these major projects. We want to ensure that these plans will deliver a transport system that will meet the future needs of our area and aspirations of the region.”

Although the strategy is a long-term plan for the next 20 years, the partnership is aware of the impact of Covid-19, and the changes it has made to how, and how often, we travel.

Councillor Macdonald added, “Last year few of us would have thought that entire organisations would have been able to work successfully from home. And yet for many, this is now the norm. How will that change the typical commute for the future? We’ve also seen surges in walking & cycling, and a desire to shop and support local; our priorities for travel are changing. Now is the time to share your views with us, as we set the direction for the next 20 years.”

The Regional Transport Strategy consultation will run from Wednesday 5th August until Friday 16th October 2020. A virtual public exhibition will run for the course of the consultation, allowing people to drop-in, view plans and share feedback around the clock. Full information on the draft regional transport strategy and how to take part in the consultation is available at Nestrans2040.org.uk