The Scottish Government has promised to continue to fund ‘high-impact permanent infrastructure and behavioural change’ projects in the future.
The commitment comes after Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson was speaking about the Government’s plans for phase 3 of its routemap to easing lockdown.
Mr Matheson, who was speaking after a visit to Scottish Power, said travel demand impact assessment suggests Scotland’s cities and surrounding areas are set to welcome back hundreds of thousands of commuters, visitors and shoppers over the coming weeks.
He said: “The recent increase in cycling is supported by the £417 million invested in active travel choices since 2014/15. Through Community Links Plus and Places for Everyone, we’ve delivered 240 miles of completely new infrastructure. To specifically assist the increase in active travel over the lockdown period and enable physical distancing, we repurposed £30 million from the Places for Everyone programme to support ‘Spaces for People’ which is funding local authorities across the country to implement temporary pop-up infrastructure.
“As part of our green recovery, we will continue to fund high-impact permanent infrastructure and behavioural change projects. Our ‘Places for Everyone’ programme is delivering over 200 permanent schemes in Scotland, making towns and cities both safer and friendlier places to travel and spend time in, and our new Programme for Government will seek to build on this theme, with green economic recovery at its heart,” he added.
The number of people cycling has increased during lockdown, however, with roads expected to become busier again because of reduced capacity on public transport due to physical distancing, the general public in Scotland are all being asked to play their part by “staying local” and embracing cleaner and greener methods of travel.
“Our transport operators are continuing to take steps to improve confidence in public transport – this includes measures such as enhanced cleaning measures, more sanitisers, mandatory face coverings and screens and we hope confidence will begin to return.
“My visit to Scottish Power is a good example of how employers can embrace change in the current climate and adapt to changing circumstances. Around three quarters of staff were able to work from home and continue to do so. A series of safe working practices have been introduced and I was particularly impressed by the scheme to support staff to purchase or repair bikes and e-bikes. The staggered and flexible start times in place for staff coming into the office is another good way to help manage demand on our transport network,” he added.