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Edinburgh sets out bold vision for 2030 mobility

The 10-year draft plan aims to respond to the city’s evolving demands as well as reinforce the Council’s ambition of making the Scottish capital carbon-neutral by 2030.

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The plan proposes a three-stage approach across its 10-year lifespan
The plan proposes a three-stage approach across its 10-year lifespan

Edinburgh has published its Draft City Mobility Plan (CMP) that sets out a 10-year vision for mobility and transport and also reinforces the Council’s ambition of making the Scottish city carbon-neutral by 2030.

 

Among other issues, it aims to tackle challenges posed by significant congestion, CO2 emissions generated by traffic, pockets of poor air quality and areas lacking public transport provision.

 

Edinburgh City Council explained that the plan rethinks the way people, goods and services move around the city and is closely aligned to the forthcoming City Plan 2030, the second Local Development Plan, which aims to transform the city’s development to manage Edinburgh’s growth in a sustainable way.

 

Strategic priorities

 

The CMP replaces the Local Transport Strategy 2014-2019 and centres on four strategic priorities: enhancing public transport, people-friendly streets, planning new developments and managing demand.

 

New policy measures focusing on public transport provision, improved cycling, walking and electric vehicle infrastructure and reducing the volume of polluting traffic in the city have drawn on feedback gathered during public engagement activities.

 

Milestones that the Council wants to reach by 2025 include having a comprehensive mass rapid transit plan for the city and region, which will include new bus and tram systems, as well as park-and-ride and edge-of-city logistics hubs.

 

It also wants to agree a business case for a north-south tram line, linking Granton to the Bio Quarter and beyond. The Council said a data-driven approach to mobility needs to be in place, working with the taxi trade, public transport providers and the commercial sector.

 

“What’s crucial to any strategy, however, is buy-in of our residents and those who travel into the capital to work and visit.”

 

By 2030, milestones include extending the mass transit network west to Newbridge, which will have been developed to connect the Waterfront in the north to the Royal Infirmary in the south and beyond. It also proposes upgrading the city region’s seven park-and-ride facilities to support fast and frequent public transport along strategic bus lanes and mass rapid transit routes travelling from these interchanges into the city.

 

According to the plan, by 2030, the transformed city will have a largely car-free centre, with the workplace parking levy reducing in revenue as car use for commuting declines.

 

In addition to the City Plan 2030, the CMP is interlinked with a range of local and national initiatives aiming to bolster environmentally friendly travel and manage population growth and development sustainably. These include Edinburgh’s City Centre Transformation (CCT) Strategy, the update of the National Transport Strategy (NTS) and the emerging Edinburgh and South East Scotland Region (ESESR) Growth Framework.

 

Phased approach

 

A three-stage approach outlines a package of measures to be implemented during the lifespan of the plan, building on progress made by the Council in recent years to develop and promote sustainable and accessible transport.

 

The first phase will incorporate several projects already underway in Edinburgh, such as the construction of the tram route to Newhaven, the delivery of a low emissions zone and the City Centre Transformation programme, which will revamp the way in which people move around the city centre.

 

Council Leader Adam McVey said the city is already making progress towards reducing carbon emissions but needs to be "even bolder and more ambitious" to achieve its 2030 target.

 

“The City Mobility Plan offers a radical, ten-year plan to transform transport in the Capital, achieving the kind of change we need by expanding use of bus, tram, rail, walking and cycling to provide the best quality of life for everyone,” he said.

 

"The fresh thinking in the mobility plan offers a brighter future for Scotland’s capital, offering citizens more attractive options to travel around; by foot, bike and public transport.”

 

He added: “What’s crucial to any strategy, however, is buy-in of our residents and those who travel into the Capital to work and visit. Everyone needs to play their part and I look forward to engaging with the public as we progress a finalised City Mobility Plan, alongside the development of the City Plan 2030.”

 

If approved by Transport and Environment Committee next week, an eight-week public consultation on the draft plan will begin in February.

 

"It’s vital that Edinburgh matches the efforts of European capitals, including Paris, Brussels and Oslo which have taken bold measures to prioritise pedestrians instead of traffic,” said Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland. “A largely car-free city centre by 2030 is essential if Edinburgh is to tackle air pollution, congestion and health issues associated with inactivity.

 

"The fresh thinking in the mobility plan offers a brighter future for Scotland’s capital, offering citizens more attractive options to travel around; by foot, bike and public transport.”

 

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