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News

Tom Hart’s news notes, 1 March 2015

Published 01 March 2015 by Colin Howden

Transport News Notes 5 Jan 15 to 1 Mar 15
TRANSPORT, ECONOMY and ENVIRONMENT
Party leaders Cameron, Clegg and Miliband have agreed to work together on climate change, seen as an increasing threat to national security and economic prosperity.  They aim for further cuts in UK carbon emissions but with disagreements on attitudes to fracking  and on the level and nature of the contribution to come from transport compared to energy conservation and carbon cuts elsewhere in the economy.

The high carbon emitting Longannet power station may close as early as 2016 unless issues relating to transmission charges can be resolved with Longannet continuing as a back-up electricity supplier at peak and other  times of low generation from wind and hydro power. An alternative would be for Scotland to shift from an electricity exporter to becoming an importer plus more generation from gas.

Further austerity and creation of a budget surplus stays as a UK government priority .  Yet there are arguments that reduced austerity linked with carefully selected measures could be more effective in raising productivity, the level of wages and rises in tax income with less need to raise overall taxation while giving improved feelings of well-being.   Lower oil prices have released consumer income for other purposes though with adverse impacts on north-east Scotland.  Inflation has fallen to historically low levels aiding real incomes in the short-term but with uncertainties on positive longer-term impacts.  An eventual revival in oil prices is anticipated.

Shifts in political thinking in the UK favour greater devolution of powers and funding to city regions in the interests of accelerating economic growth and connectivity while reducing the relative attraction of London.  There are unresolved issues related to how far transport policies on their own can influence connectivity and growth with some shift away from London – or does this involve a greater commitment at UK level to increase funding and other actions facilitating a lesser London role?

AVIATION
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce feels that Glasgow will gain from early approval for an additional runway at Heathrow but Edinburgh Airport, now owned by Gatwick, favours a second runway at Gatwick as the best way forward. Edinburgh has announced a £50m plan to triple capacity for long-haul air travel.  A new service to Abu Dhabi starts on 8 June with prospects of Edinburgh Airport again changing ownership in the medium-term.

NATS anticipates that future fuel use per passenger or tonne kilometre may be cut by changing rules for ascents and descents, permission for shorter inter-point routes and flying some 8000 feet higher than at present.  High winds caused a Loganair flight to veer off the Stornoway runway in January

Given poor rail services, NESTRANS and Transport Scotland are investigating  proposals by Eastern Airways for Glasgow/Edinburgh-Aberdeen flights.  These would require support from public funds.  A better option may be the improved rail services as proposed in the Abellio franchise.

The Flybe Inverness-London City air service introduced in October 2014 was withdrawn in February due to low use.  Planes used on extra routes to London City are being redeployed to increase frequency from Edinburgh and Belfast to London City

Both Chancellor Osborne and Shetland MSP Tavish Scott are seeking faster cuts in air fares as oil prices fall.
Ryanair has promised price falls from 2016 but warns that greater competition between airlines may erode profits. Under EU law, a retired police officer has won a two-year battle with Ryanair for £600 compensation for a delayed Prestwick flight, opening up prospects of claims from other passengers

The Annual Scottish Air Show is to return to Prestwick and Ayr in September with the aim of doubling the 50,000 visitors in 2014.

Audit Scotland has queried the value of £40m Scottish Government loans to the now publicly-owned Prestwick Airport.  Estimates of future usage also appeared high.  An exit strategy may be needed.

The health of airline staff may be suffering due to exposure to toxic fumes.

FERRIES & SHIPPING
Greenock Cruise Terminal expects a record 109,000 passengers in 2015, 14% up on 2014 and with 56 ships calling over the year.  A London businessman is considering £10m plans to bring a restored TS Queen Mary back to the Clyde from Tilbury.

The £42m new Loch Seaforth has started service on the Ullapool-Stornoway route but will carry passengers only until a new link-span is completed at Ullapool by May.  Kintyre continues to campaign for a restored vehicle ferry from Campbeltown to Northern Ireland

Herald of 23 Jan contained a special supplement on Scottish ports.  Since January, ships in the North Sea have to use more expensive low sulphur fuel.  Some extra business is expected from off-shore wind farms but oil activity is falling.  Argyll and Bute Council is seeking an amended Campbeltown-Ardrossan summer sailings to allow a day’s shopping.  Montrose harbour reports a terrific year for agric-business plus continued oil-related activity.  Girvan has spent £700,000 to expand yacht activity at this previously neglected Clyde harbour.

A shortlist of bidders will be asked to submit tenders for Clyde and Hebrides ferry services  in June with the new contract starting in October 2016 with an eight year duration.  This could mean  services moving into the private sector.

Arran has been affected by increased cancellations of the Brodick-Ardrossan ferry and is seeking greater use of diversions to Gourock in bad weather.  Reopening of the former winter terminal at Fairlie is not considered feasible but harbour works at Ardrossan may improve the reliability of this terminal.

CalMac has been commended for high-quality food on the larger vehicle ferries.  Following local opposition, fare rises on the Corran ferry have been deferred by Highland Council

Another grounding emergency on the Ardnamurchan coast has led  to calls for a coastguard tug to be restored to the West Coast, rather than one  in Orkney serving the entire Scottish coast

RAIL
High winds, snow and flooding had adverse impacts on rail services in January but rail operators were criticised for excessive withdrawals of services in Scotland since local weather forecasts were less severe.  Poor information was available on the timings and location of withdrawals and on potential alternatives.

Stagecoach/Virgin took over the East Coast passenger rail franchise in March amid questions about why this service was not kept in the public sector and avoid a monopoly with Stagecoach/Virgin operating both East Coast and West Coast Anglo-Scottish services.  Herald editorial on 28 Feb praises East Coast as a good example of well-run state enterprise and the need for action to ensure that privately-run franchises operate well. The new operator is offering both Virgin Flying Club and Nectar points but these are seen as less valuable than the former East Coast rewards scheme.  Mark Lazarowicz, MP is seeking greater interim improvements on the East Coast services to London and other cities pending the development of HS2 services running through to Scotland. Virgin trains saw an 11% rise on Anglo-Scottish services in 2014.  Users are now three times the 2009 level though Glasgow-London trips by air are still four times higher than Glasgow-London by rail.

Abellio, the new ScotRail franchise operator, has been criticised for low passenger satisfaction scores on services operated in England.  Under extended devolution, the Scottish Government will  be able to award franchises to non-profit distributing company operators.  Jim Murphy, the new Labour party leader in Scotland, has promised a return to publicly operated rail passenger services taking advantage of the 5-year break clause in the Abellio franchise.  Alternative proposals have been made by SAPT for increased powers for city regions or RTPs in Scotland as part of more effective transport and land-use integration.

Major disruption is expected due to a 6 week closure of the Winchburgh Tunnel in June/July for electrification work.  This will affect Glasgow Queen St-Edinburgh services and rail access to the Open Golf
Championships at St Andrews due to Glasgow line diversions affecting capacity on the Edinburgh-Fife line.
Further disruption will come from renewal of track on the approach tunnel to Glasgow Queen St High Level while delay in the supply of electric rolling stock will prevent full electric working on the Glasgow-Falkirk-Edinburgh line until late in 2017.  Redevelopment of Queen St station will not be complete until 2019, by which time the Glasgow Central-Shotts-Edinburgh line will also be electrified along with the routes from Queen St to Dunblane and Alloa.  Queen St HL will have capacity to take 8 coach rather than present trains limited to six coaches.

Track-laying has now been completed on the Edinburgh-Tweedbank rail route.  Work on stations and signalling and on driver training is on schedule for opening of the route in early September.

David Spaven (S31Dec) and David  Ross (Herald Highland correspondent 21 Jan) have argued for greater attention to rail freight potential, not only Anglo-Scottish, but also north to Inverness and other parts of the Highlands.  They seek greater attention to freight terminals, route improvement and enhanced motive power as a means of delivering shifts from HGVs.  R J Ardern of Inverness is seeking enhanced passenger capacity, better frequency and shorter trip-times on the Perth-Inverness route with Aberdeen also gaining from an eventual reopening of a route through Strathmore.

In the Central Belt, Jim Murphy (H 10Feb) has called for Labour to take the lead in committing to early work to adapt the existing St Enoch Bridge route as a Glasgow Crossrail forming a key element in unifying the Scottish rail network and linking with plans for a Glasgow Airport Rail Link.   The long delayed report on this link has now been published as a result of a Freedom of Information request.  Compared to the existing express bus link, it finds little time advantage in a rail link and also capacity issues on the Paisley Gilmour St-Glasgow line which would make it hard to provide extra airport services without inconvenience to passengers already using this busy route.  A tramtrain approach may offer solutions but only limited funding is presently available under City Deal proposals.  Glasgow Central is the preferred terminus.

Rail franchise companies have agreed a new code obliging them to inform passengers of the cheapest  tickets for proposed trips – at present two different sets of tickets covering a planned journey can be cheaper than a through ticket.  The new code will also include a notice on ticket machines saying that cheaper tickets may be available via the internet or through ticket offices. Better publicity is being sought on rights to passenger refunds when trains run late.

Automatic barriers to stop fare dodgers are to be introduced at Edinburgh Park but there are fears of difficulties if, under devolution proposals, the British Transport Police (in effect the Rail Police) are absorbed in Police Scotland

BUS, TRAM & TAXI
‘Why drive when you can travel in style?’  Feature article by Rosemary Goring on public transport(H 5 Jan)

SPT has approved plans for a £3n modernisation of Buchanan St Subway station.  Contracts for new driverless trains are expected to be approved later this year.   J Bryce of Glasgow has suggested that the ‘stillborn’ Bus Fastlink should be adapted to provide a tram route from central Glasgow to the Airport via SECC, the new South Glasgow Hospital, Braehead and Renfrew.  But trip times would be longer than on the present airport express bus route.

Glasgow City Council is consulting on standardised rules for bus lanes.  A related issue is whether many bus lanes are required if other measures are used to reduce total volumes of motorised traffic in city centres in association with greater use of ‘busgates’.  There continue to be delays in deciding on the best means of reducing bus trip times in central Glasgow and on principal approach routes.  Herald editorial of 17 Jan concludes that bus lanes are not the only issue in securing an improved network.  ‘Glasgow’s buses are too often dirty and inadequately regulated.  They frequently appear to be the cause of city centre congestion as rival operators crowd popular routes’.  Iain Gray’s proposed Holyrood  bus regulation bill is commended.

Arthur Homan-Elsy says ‘people in other parts of Europe find it incomprehensible that SPT and a city the size of Glasgow have so little control over the bulk of local public transport’ .  Overall planning and comprehensive regulation was needed to give outcomes the public wanted .  SAPT Chair Dr John McCormick has called for the Scottish Transport Minister to replace the ineffectiveness of divided responsibilities by setting up a Transport for a Greater Glasgow planning and delivery authority along with a new Scottish Transport Act to replace bus deregulation (H 18 & 21 Feb)

Further criticism of the failure to establish integrated city public transport networks has come from the slow progress made in establishing an effective network to serve the 10,000 workers plus visitors to the new South Glasgow University Hospital with the first staff arriving within weeks.  While parking adequate for visitors will be provided, it has long been known that only a minority of staff will be able to use on-site parking yet essential alternatives are not yet clearly established and have been inhibited by the current weak system of bus regulation.  SPT has given assurances that the first section of Bus Fastlink will be open as far as the Hospital by late May though there are still unsettled issues on frequency, quality and the route used in the city centre.

Claims by NHS bosses that all workers at South Glasgow will be within an hour of their work by public transport have been disputed by nursing representatives.   McGill’s have confirmed that they with run the flagship Glasgow bus Fastlink route from the city centre to South Glasgow Hospital as specified by SPT.  Service will operate 7 days a week from 11 May and between 6am and midnight.  McGills will also run a 12 minute service between Cardonald rail station and the South Glasgow South Hospital (H 17 & 19 Feb)

As part of the case for Crossrail services avoiding the present walk between the main rail stations in Glasgow, RailQwest claims that Hillington East station could be adapted to provide good links to and from the South Glasgow Hospital (H19Feb)

McGill’s buses are to be paid £9.1m by SPT over 3 years to takeover most of the contracts formerly held by the defunct Henderson Travel.  Costs will be £132,000 a year higher than the previous contracts.

Cole’s Coaches of Falkirk have been fined £1,500 for failing to run timetabled bus services and banned from registering any new services until October.   This is a second offence.   FirstGroup has warned that users should not expect falls in bus fares after the recent fall in oil prices.  It is committed to buying oil at higher prices until next year while Stagecoach has also expressed concern that lower fuel costs for car users could make it more difficult to attract them to bus use

Scottish Government has reached a new deal with bus operators awarding them £414m over the next two years to secure free bus travel for the elderly and disabled.  1.2m people take advantage of free travel.  Compensation to operators is being reduced from 58.1% of single adult fares to 56.9%

MSP Colin Keir has urged taxi and private-hire firms to make single-women passengers a priority.  He also urges people to use only reputable private-hire firms.

Wheelchair users in Edinburgh are angry that a £20 charge is being proposed to register as part of schemes to reduce fares for residents whose mobility is severely impaired.  At present, Edinburgh City Council pays the first £3 of taxi charges to the severely impaired up to a limit of 104 trips per year but is being forced to look for economies due to budget cuts.

American firm Uber has applied for licences to operate electronic taxi-booking services in Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Uber faces criticism for its policy of non-regulation of cars and drivers.  Fares tend to be cheaper than taxi fares.  Professor James Cooper of Napier University says that conventional taxi operators could lose 40% of their business to Uber.  Bus usage could also be affected.

ROADS & PARKING
The Queensferry road crossing may open earlier than expected with costs cut from £1.6bn to £1.4bn

Transport Scotland has commissioned design work on a scheme for a dual A96 from Inverness to Nairn, including a Nairn Bypass.

Official figures show Scottish motorways to be the safest in Britain with 1.60 casualties per mile compared to 3.9 for Britain and 6.03 in south-east England. English motorways are more heavily used so there is less difference in casualties per vehicle kilometre.

Scottish Government is considering plans to allow speeding motorists to avoid penalty points by attending speed awareness training,. This system already applies in England and Wales.  Motorists are seeking lesser penalties for those marginally above the new Scottish drink-driving limits.  The new limits have led to larger numbers no longer drinking and driving but falls in income at many pubs and clubs.

Roads were affected by high winds, snow and rain in January.  A further £3m has been set aside for landslide prevention on the A83 at Rest and be Thankful

EC has backed a wider scheme cutting fuel prices by 5p a litre in remoter areas

Motorists in Glasgow paid £4.3m in parking fines in 2014, 10% up on 2013 but costs of administration were £6m.  Complaints about Councils targeting motorists have been rising, including plans for Sunday charges near churches in Edinburgh.  More action is sought on provision of more parking spaces but these could aggravate congestion, including Clyde tunnel approach roads close to the new South Glasgow Hospital

On balance, the public are supportive of widened consultation on 20mph speed limits in Edinburgh and Glasgow but polls in Edinburgh have found 83% against Council plans.  Motorists have raised practical issues related to enforcement and excessive use of such limits on major streets.  Most of the emphasis on 20mph limits is on residential and shopping streets.

In response to speeding complaints at blackspots, police are encouraging volunteers to be more involved in speed-checking.  A pilot scheme is being conducted in Culbokie village north of Inverness.  A 50mph speed limit on much of the A9, supported by average speed cameras, has had encouraging initial results in cutting accidents and their severity.  Transport Scotland is proposing to cut speeds on two sections of theA87 between Invergarry and Skye from 60 to 50mph.  Dornie Community Council is objecting.  Reduced speed limits are also being examined on other rural roads.  A temporary 40mph limit has been applied on the present Forth Road Bridge and approaches.

An out of control bin lorry in central Glasgow caused six pedestrian deaths in the busy pre-Christmas period

Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, has called for fuller use of electronic technology to improve traffic management and better inform motorists where city parking space is available while also taking more cars out of streets where pedestrians want to be.

WALKING & CYCLING
Compared to Glasgow, twice as many cyclists have been killed in road crashes in Edinburgh in the past five years.  Glasgow had 3 deaths compared to 6 in Edinburgh but levels of cycling in the capital are higher than in Glasgow.  Campaigners are seeking more severe penalties for motorists causing the death of cyclists as well as wider use of segregated lanes and 20mph limits.  Others have argued that 20mph limits should also apply to cyclists.

Glasgow City Council has performed a U-turn after city officials proposed to reject as ‘not eligible’ a petition to apply 20mph speed limits to 80% of city streets, as proposed in Edinburgh.  Midlothian is to introduce 20mph limits around nursery schools

Cyclists who slipped on tram tracks in Edinburgh are taking legal action to against Edinburgh City Council for compensation for injuries

JCDecaux is in talks with Edinburgh City Council to introduce a bike-rental scheme similar to London.  The City Council is also aiming to tap into the cycle tourism market which could be worth £60m a year

Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists has called for wider and more expensive redesign of streets to improve local environments rather than the ‘cheap’ approach of 20mph limits with a proliferation of signs and speed bumps.  In Edinburgh, the pilot plans for redesign of parts of Edinburgh’s George St have been attacked as a ‘cross between a bad garden centre display and a children’s Wendy house’. This pilot scheme is now to be removed

Go Bike – The Strathclyde Cycle Campaign has complained about the total lack of consideration for cyclists and pedestrians in the redesign of streets adjacent to the SECC in Glasgow.  Others have complained of slow action to grit pavements and cycle paths in the January cold snap.

A study of fit amateur cyclists between 55 and 79 has found that many were physically and biologically much younger than most people of the same age.

Ramblers are calling on MSPs to resolve confusion over the public’s right to use railway level crossings.
Since 2004, Network Rail attitudes to the use of such crossings in remoter parts of Scotland have hardened with the result that the ban on trespass on railway land is in conflict with Scottish ‘right to roam’ legislation

PLANNING & PROPERTY
The John Muir Trust has joined the Planning Democracy campaign to secure a right of appeal for objectors if a planning application is granted.  At present, only applicants can appeal against a refusal or restricted grant of planning permission.

Tesco’s superstore in central Kirkcaldy is among the first to be proposed for closure under Tesco restructuring plans.  The growth in on-line shopping is having increasing impacts on town centre shopping and on superstores at other locations.  Along with others, an extension of the Silverburn superstore in south Glasgow has an increasing emphasis on leisure and eating facilities along with other attractions such as cinemas and special events.  Combined retail and leisure centres are seeing more investment  as economic confidence revives

Despite opposition from Glasgow City Council, Braehead has gained town centre status with owner  Intu planning town centre style expansion at a cost around £200m.  In central Glasgow, CPOs have been approved for major expansion of Buchanan Galleries.  Work on this and the related redevelopment of Queen St rail station is due to start in October but there is concern at the intrusive nature of this development and the lack of comprehensive plans for access and reduced road traffic.  Present plans feature an 11-storey car park on the east side of Queen St station, partly hidden by a controversial north extension of the Millennium Hotel out of keeping with this historic building and George Square

Developments in and around high-priced Aberdeen are beginning to see adverse impacts from the downturn in the oil industry while office and other developments in Glasgow are gaining ground as Edinburgh is perceived as an expensive location.  But Edinburgh’s population may still rise to 600,000 by 2030 and stronger efforts are being made to improve the shopping and other attractions of the city centre.
Some Aberdeen commercial property developers are turning their attention to Edinburgh while other cities report rising interest from developers in commercial property away from London.

The SECC 13,000 seat Hydro, opened in September 2013, is said to be the second-busiest leisure centre in the world, only beaten by London’s O2 and with increasing dependence on access by public transport.

Almost 2000 workers have made the Bridgeton/Dalmarnock area in Glasgow’s east end their new home in the past three years

Proposals for new student accommodation in Leith include a ban on car parking.  In East Lothian developers building houses adjacent to busy roads are being required to install ‘car turntables’ so that cars are not reversed onto roads where frontage space is too small to allow reversal.

Barratt is planning 2,100 new homes on 13 sites in Scotland mainly in the Central Belt and around Aberdeen.   The first homes in Chapleton, a private build new town near the coast five miles south of Aberdeen, have opened.  Plans envisage 8,000 houses completed by 2023.

In January, Clydeplan (Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Strategic Development Planning Authority) published a Main Issues Report on which views are sought by mid-March.  Responses are sought to 20 questions.  There are strong references to a Successful and Sustainable City Region though surprisingly little on Transport.  It is only 1 of 7 Issues.  A Revised Plan will be submitted to Scottish Ministers by May 2016.

RESEARCH & STATISTICS
January saw increased air passengers at both Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Domestic passengers at Edinburgh were up 7.2% with international growth slightly lower at 7.1%.  Domestic growth has been helped by new Ryanair traffic to Stansted and more flights to London City.  Glasgow saw international numbers up 18.1% but with domestic growth of 6.6%, reversing recent falling trends.  More people used flights to Heathrow and London City.  Prestwick has lost out while oil industry problems saw growth at Aberdeen fall to 0.5%

Total passengers at Highlands and Islands Airports rose 3.8% to 1.4m in 2014, mainly due to the oil sector being buoyant for most of the year. Dundee saw a further 19.5% fall due to reduced flights to London City.

Rail passenger trips in Britain continued to rise above the record levels of 2013 with high growth around London but lower growth in inter-regional trips.  Most regions saw intra-regional trips rise by more than the inter-regional sector with the SPT area reaching 5% growth, partly a continuing legacy of the greater use of rail during the Commonwealth Games.

ORR data released for 2013-2014 confirms Scotland as having by far the largest number of internal trips relative to trips to and from other regions in Britain.  There were 83m internal rail passenger trips compared to 8m trips to and from other parts of Britain.

A poll of 1000 people by Transform Scotland has found that over 90% wanted rail trips between Scottish cities to be at least as fast as by road.  Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown reports research showing that extending HS2 from Lancashire to Scotland could generate almost £25 billion for the UK economy.

New car sales in Britain were at their highest since 2004.  221,570 new cars were sold in Scotland, 8% up on 2013. The recent large fall in fuel prices seems to have had only a modest impact on fuel demand according to the AA.  People are using lower fuel costs to divert spending to other items.  Lower growth in car sales is expected in 2015 with January sales in Scotland down 1.1% on January 2014.

More than 1000 electric vehicles are now thought to be in use in Scotland but RAC data obtained under Freedom of Information shows that most of the 482 charging sites are heavily under-used.  In August 2014, there were only 2,885 charging sessions with the highest usage in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Falkirk/Stirling

LTT 666 20 Feb features the UK government push for on-road tests of driverless road vehicles with the aim of  becoming a world leader with this technology.  Initial pilots with low-speed vehicles are in Greenwich and Milton Keynes with later moves to higher speeds and fully automated operation.  The aim is to address complex legal liability and regulatory issues by 2017.    Automated vehicles may be leased rather than sold to the public but too large a take-up of low speed automated driverless vehicles in pedestrian priority zones could create amenity issues. Further information in the DfT/BIS report, ‘The pathway to driverless cars’

Results from the continuous A9 speed cameras and the overall 50mph limit show that drivers going too fast have fallen from 1 in 3 to 1 in 20.  HGVs report shorter trip times due speed limits up from 40 to 50mph

A new ‘white space’ wireless technology piloted in Scotland may improve connectivity at lower costs than previous techniques.  Research at Glasgow and St Andrews Universities has found that half of all businesses are operating from people’s homes and provide 1 in 5 private sector jobs

A new research report from Transform Scotland has shown that taking the train, rather than the plane, for longer trips makes environmental and economic sense.  Particular attention is given to the Edinburgh-London route (part of Advertising feature in association with East Coast in 3 14 Jan)

A survey of people moving on retirement has found declining interest in ‘a place in the sun’ and a rising preference for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness – though Fife remains a popular retirement area, especially the East Neuk and St Andrew’s

Edinburgh City Council has published a five-year plan to reduce carbon emissions.  This makes little reference to modal shift to public transport and active travel but does mention replacing street and stair lights with LED systems and the expansion of electric cars.

Prof. Martin Tangney, Director of Biofuel Research at Napier University, has produced an advanced biofuel, biobutanol,  made from whisky by-products.  This could provide an alternative to oil use in aviation and in road fuels, also having export potential.

Scottish Transport Statistics No 33 2014 Edition was published in hard copy and on the web in February as A National Statistics Publication under the Transport Scotland banner.  Selected data is below:

2015-03 Table for Tom Hart news notes

Movement and Modal Share Scenarios  Since last November, Local Transport Today has featured comments on changing views on transport scenarios for Britain looking to 2030 and into the 2040s.
The revised  DfT  National Transport Model has a central forecast of 43% road traffic growth on the strategic network between 2013 and 2040 but a tailing off in rail growth.  This contrasts with the reality of car traffic being 1% lower in 2013 than in 2002 and record levels of rail passenger growth not only in London but also in other parts of the country.  The DfT sees ‘little sign of demand on the strategic road network abating’ but does say that higher population growth and some rise in real incomes will be the main factors in growth.  Further DfT explanation of changes in movement and mode share is expected shortly.

Other prominent commentators have queried these DfT views as lacking a robust treatment of changing relationships between transport, the economy and well-being in a era of changing patterns of consumer spending and the implications of an electronic age and a population becoming more concentrated on city regions with increased devolved powers.  Current valuations of time-savings have also been seen as distorting decisions on transport funding when there is an increasing probability of stabilised internal movement per head of population but a greater shift to public transport, walking and cycling especially in larger cities and prominent areas for leisure and tourism.

Scottish aspects of these debates are considered in two recent STSG web-based publications – one in November 2014 by Derek Halden on ‘Connecting Scotland – New Ways to Fund Better transport’ and one in February 2015 by Tom Hart on ‘Transport Scenarios for Scotland 2000-2030.’  A Scottish Government view on revised Scenarios is expected shortly, giving both a national view, revisions of movement and modal share within the principal city regions and with respect to external  movement .

BUSINESS & PERSONNEL
Airline stocks have fallen after a Ryanair warning that lower oil prices will lead to increased competition and reduced profitability.  Despite the loss of rail franchises, FirstGroup shares have rallied following better rail results, offsetting the negative impacts on bus use of cheaper petrol and poor US bus performances.

New trains for the new Caledonian Sleeper franchise are to be built by Spanish company CAF with delivery by April 2018. Four types of facility will be offered with the aim of offering a high calibre tourist attraction.

Lord Smith of Kelvin has taken over as Chair of the Clyde Gateway Regeneration body.  Hugh Aitken, former boss of Sun Microsystems, has become the new CBI head in Scotland, replacing Iain McMillan who has retired.  Ronnie Park, MD of FirstGroup’s Glasgow Bus Division until 2013 has become SPT’s Director of Bus Operations.  The long-running dispute affecting Lothian Bus Executive Directors is to be resolved by all four leaving the company over the next two years.  Salaries for future Executive Directors are to be reduced.  The present maximum is £270,000 a year.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
The Triumph of a Great Tradition – The Story of Cunard’s 175 Years, Lily Publications £24
or £19.75 (plus P&P) from ferrypubs.co.uk or call 01624 898446
Mapping the Railways – Britain’s railways through maps from 1819 to the present day  Julian Holland and David Spaven, Collins 2014 reprint  £16.99 (includes good coverage of Scotland as well the development of publicity maps and route diagrams plus maps from the 1963 Beeching Report on Rail Reshaping)
The Caledonian Railway   D Ross, 2014  Stenlake  £30 – a well-researched book with photos and other illustrations
Scottish Transport Statistics  No. 33  2014 Edition, Transport Scotland