Bold plans for future of transport in Edinburgh

An integrated suite of draft action plans to help transform the way people move around Edinburgh has been published ahead of Transport and Environment Committee on Thursday (2 February).

The Active Travel Action PlanPublic Transport Action Plan and Parking Action Plan each support the delivery of Edinburgh’s City Mobility Plan to 2030, which envisions sustainable, safe, accessible and affordable travel around, to and from the Capital.

If approved next week, an extensive public consultation will take place on the three draft plans alongside the draft Road Safety and Air Quality Action Plans, which were previously approved. Consulting on the five plans together will help people understand the common issues and further shape the proposed actions. These actions are intended to work together towards key Council objectives including cutting car kilometres by 30% by 2030, reducing congestion and improving health and wellbeing, as well as the vital net zero goal.

Each of the plans sit under the emerging Circulation Plan and its associated Streetspace Allocation Framework. This framework considers how to best use the limited space on our streets to better support people walking, wheeling, cycling and using public transport, while taking the needs of other street users into account. This approach is essential to helping the city transition towards a lower traffic, more liveable, healthy and sustainable place.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said:

This ambitious set of action plans and the overarching Circulation Plan build on the commitments in the City Mobility Plan. They provide detailed actions to direct investment in and to deliver of a more sustainable, inclusive and affordable transport system. This is essential as we work towards a city where we can all enjoy a healthy environment, get around conveniently and, crucially, achieve net zero carbon emissions.

It’s clear that we can’t address one area of transport without tackling another, which is why we’re considering each of the plans together. Whether it’s delivering safer streets, providing better connections to and around the city or improving air quality, the issues, solutions and actions cut across our plans.

Investing in sustainable transport to help cut congestion is key to ensuring Edinburgh’s continued economic prosperity. This will take significant investment, and to help demonstrate the need for funding from the Scottish Government we will build a formal business case which helps confirm the economic and wellbeing benefits. We will also show that this investment is key to creating a more equal Edinburgh which is ready to show leadership in the transition towards sustainable travel.

If approved, we’ll be seeking the public’s views to help further shape the future of transport in Edinburgh, to the benefit of generations to come.

All of the actions are intended to be complementary across the action plans. For example, both lower speed limits and better routes to school are safety measures that support active travel. Similarly, enhanced parking enforcement can improve conditions for walking, wheeling and cycling and also reduce bus journey times.

Active Travel Action Plan
The ATAP sets out to deliver a walkable and fully accessible city, where cycling is a realistic choice for all through major enhancements to Edinburgh’s walking, wheeling and cycling networks. Actions, which are estimated to require between £824m and £1,124bn investment, include –

  • Improving walking and wheeling: Create easy-access, step-free, uncluttered pavements through measures like ensuring every junction has ‘dropped’ kerbs, levelling pavements (for example where the gradient at places like driveways makes them hard to use in a wheelchair) and delivering more and better pedestrian crossings.
  • Improving cycling: Deliver a joined-up network of routes which are within 400m of every household and that feel safe at all times of day using segregated cycle tracks on main roads, as well as unsegregated routes on streets with low volumes of motor traffic. Alongside this accelerate the roll-out of cycle parking.
  • Better shopping streets and neighbourhoods: Measures in support of the 20-minute neighbourhood strategy. Work with businesses to transform shopping streets, focusing on making them better places for people. Implementing low-traffic, liveable neighbourhoods in residential areas to address rat-running and improve conditions for active travel. Lower speed limits, especially on rural roads.
  • Street design and supporting active travel in and from new developments: Use Edinburgh Street Design Guidance in the planning process for new developments to ensure active travel and public transport use, rather than car-dependence, are encouraged.
  • Access to green space and cycling for leisure: Improved crossings and accesses to support Edinburgh’s Open Space Strategy and better signing and path upgrades to support leisure cycling.
  • Supporting and encouraging active travel: An expanded behaviour change programme focusing on campaigns to complement new infrastructure.

Public Transport Action Plan
By delivering an enhanced public transport system, including bus priority measures and higher quality infrastructure supporting faster journey times, Edinburgh will be connected by a safer and more inclusive net zero carbon transport system. Amongst the actions are –

  • Addressing the climate emergency: Deliver a programme of behaviour change interventions to encourage public transport use and working with operators on options for a net zero carbon fleet.
  • Providing safe, affordable and accessible public transport: Deliver integrated ticketing across Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams, as well as rail; strengthen partnerships with taxi and private hire car trade and car club partners as key providers of the city’s shared mobility offering.
  • Delivering a reliable and efficient network to support growth: Proposed extension of bus lane hours and bus stop realignment to improve journey times, while maintaining access for all along with other bus priority measures.
  • Enhancing regional connectivity: Develop mass rapid transit plan for the city and region, deliver North / South tram line linking Granton to the Bio Quarter and beyond and consider future use of South Suburban Rail Line as well as the opportunity for a cross-Forth ferry.
  • Place – reducing vehicular dominance: Support Edinburgh City Centre Transformation and review opportunities to reduce bus stop dwell times.
  • Improving governance and coordination: Deliver new governance arrangements for Council owned public transport operators; align operational management of the public transport companies with the city’s transport policies.

Parking Action Plan
By being ambitious about expanding controlled parking zones and restricting parking in new developments, we can reduce car usage and, in turn, congestion on streets, particularly as the city’s population expands. Key areas are –

  • Communications: Increasing awareness of parking operations, proposals and consultations while improving data gathering and customer insight.
  • Parking controls: These play an important part in many people’s everyday lives by determining where deliveries are made, where local residents including people with mobility difficulties can park and where people can cross the road, cycle and access public transport more safely.
  • Parking management: The Council has a duty to manage and maintain public streets, with parking management important for achieving this aim through permits and pricing to help manage demand and ensure parking opportunities are available.
  • Parking enforcement: Vital for parking management to function effectively, with on-street parking regulations and enforcement applied to establish an orderly use of the available urban space.
  • Reducing vehicle emissions: Managing kerbside space differently by allocating space to support electric vehicle charging and car sharing through car club vehicles. This can help to reduce vehicle emissions and encourage sustainable mobility.

The Air Quality and Road Safety Action Plans were approved for consultation by Transport and Environment Committee on 8 December. If the remaining plans are approved on 2 February a period of public consultation and engagement will be carried out between March and July. Please keep an eye out for more details on how you can get involved – this will include information via our Future Edinburgh webpages.


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