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"The view from Transport Central" by Eric Guthrie, Director, TACTRAN.
Scottish Region meeting of 10 April 2007 held in the AK Bell Library, Perth.

Eric Guthrie, Director, TACTRAN at the Perth meeting.d

Eric Guthrie, Director, TACTRAN at the Perth meeting.

© John G. Fender 2011

The Perth meeting of 10th April was addressed by Eric Guthrie, Director, TACTRAN who began his presentation by outlining the background to the establishment of the Scottish Regional Transport Partnerships. These were established under the Transport Scotland Act, 2005 and there are seven covering the country.

The Regional Transport Partnerships can be one of three functional models and TACTRAN is a "model 1" partnership. TACTRAN is unique in that it adjoins for other Regional Transport Partnerships and contains three city regions, these being Dundee, Perth, and Stirling.

The role of the Regional Transport Partnership is to prepare and submit the Regional Transport Strategy, to co-ordinate and implement the strategy, to prepare an annual report and delivery plans for the Minister and to review and roll forward the plans every four years. The Regional Transport Partnerships also engage in community planning and "model 1" Partnerships need to consider moving towards "model 2" or "model 3" Partnerships.

TACTRAN has a board with the 15 members, 10 of which are councillors and the remainder to being appointed by the Minister. TACTRAN has its headquarters in Perth and the Board meets quarterly. TACTRAN currently has a revenue budget of £420,000 of which half is provided by the Scottish Executive, the rest being requisitioned from the constituent councils. This year's capital programme amounts to £3.327 million and there is specific grant funding available for projects. TACTRAN currently has a dedicated support staff of eight.

The current capital programme of £3.327 million consists of 57 schemes costing between £2000 and £500,000 and 52% of these are for public transport, walking and cycling accounts for 21% and the road network and safety measures for the remaining 27%. In the 2007/8 programme there are 23 schemes costing between £6000 and £607,000. Public transport will account for £1.81 million which is 54% whilst walking and cycling will account for % and the remaining 26% being spent on road improvements. Future programmes are dependent on the Regional Transport Strategy.

The Regional Transport Strategy is a statutory document unlike the local transport strategies and it must link to and support at the National Transport Strategy. It sets out a programme of actions and interventions to achieve the objectives of the delivery plan. It must be aspirational but realistic and focus on the travel needs of people and business. It aims to integrate transport more closely with the land use and development planning and safeguard the environment both locally and globally. The Regional Transport Strategy also provides a framework for local transport strategies.

In developing the Regional Transport Strategy consultations were held with a key stakeholders and some 200 groups and individuals were asked what issues they would like to see being addressed. This led to the generation of a number of options and was followed by an eight-week public consultation process in which every community council was consulted in addition to the general public. At the end of the process the final Regional Transport Strategy document was submitted to the Minister by the deadline of 31st March 2007.

During the process, 49 key issues were identified through the discussions with stakeholders and these were assessed against the objectives. This resulted in over 400 possible schemes being devised. As part of the process alternative scenarios were examined with increased emphasis on the economy, environment, and accessibility. The finalised Regional Transport Strategy is a balanced package of measures which best meets the objectives and addresses the key issues that were identified.

The key themes of the Regional Transport Strategy are the economy, accessibility, and environment. The economy looks at both external and internal road and rail links, ports and harbours, as well as connectivity for both passenger and freight transport. Accessibility covers such aspects as employment, education, health, public transport, demand responsive transport and integration. The environment covers air quality, travel awareness promotion, the area's soft measures, and emphasis on sustainable modes of transport as well as encouraging the use of public transport instead of private transport.

In addition to developing the Regional Transport Strategy, TACTRAN will engage with planning the authorities and the new city regions as well as consider policy controls to reduce the need for travel, particularly by car and will promote travel for planning for a major employers. It will also develop a Regional Transport Information Strategy and develop and maintain travel information systems. It will also promote travel plans and a region wide car-sharing scheme and develop a strategic regional parking policy. The development of sustainable travel opportunities is another key area and a regional walking and cycling strategy will be developed along with urban and rural walking and cycling networks.

For public transport it will create a Regional Bus Strategy and develop Quality Bus partnerships setting minimum public transport standards. It aims to review bus frequencies on key commuter corridors and tackle the main sources of delay by implementing bus priority measures and improving bus interchange. For rail passengers there are number of service improvements that are desirable along with enhancements to stations. Multimodal interchanges and park-and-ride schemes are also included as is integrated ticketing. Community transport and demand responsive transport are seen to have key roles to play and there is good region wide co-operation with community transport operators. The introduction of a region wide Taxi-card scheme will further enhance people's opportunities to travel.

Turning to roads, Eric Guthrie said that there are a number of improvements that need to be made. Examples being the A90 improvements through and around Dundee, the new A9 to A94 link at Perth, the completion of the Stirling outer ring road and numerous road-safety improvements throughout the area. Regional road safety plans and education are also seen as important as is the need to support councils on maintenance funding. Turning to freight, a Regional Freight Quality Partnership will be set up. This will it seek to improve the road and rail links to ports at Dundee, Montrose, and Perth Harbour. It will also look at the regional rail freight and intermodal freight facilities.

Air transport was also considered including additional services from Dundee airport and improved terminal and other facilities. The impact of the road and rail links to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen have to be taken into consideration. External connectivity to the TACTRAN area includes such aspects as high-speed rail services to other parts of Scotland and into England as well as links to Rosyth ferry terminus.

Rounding off his presentation Eric Guthrie outlined the ongoing activity including the development of a prioritised and assigned delivery plan, detailed STAG appraisal and interventions and actions, detailed the costing of measures as well as refining and defining targets. Moving forward, TACTRAN will complete its staffing establishment and maintain momentum on the Regional Transport Strategy. It will be commencing feasibility studies on a number of projects and will be considering delivery issues. However, that are a number of uncertainties including the forthcoming May elections that will result in a new Partnership Board and a new Scottish Executive. The new Executive may have different views on transport priorities. TACTRAN will also be looking at ongoing revenue and capital funding and will have to consider when it will move beyond being a "model 1" partnership.

For further information on TACTRAN, visit their website at www.tactran.gov.uk.

Report by John Fender.

 

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