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What are the prospects for sustainable transport in Aberdeen?

Published 02 June 2020 by Transform Scotland

Transform director Colin Howden was happy to join Aberdeen Climate Action’s ‘Climate Cafe’ on Tuesday 2 June to make a presentation on ‘The Future of Public Transport in Scotland’. The presentation is now available.

As part of the presentation, figures were presented on European-wide investment in light rail systems, as a proxy for major investment in sustainable urban transport. Aberdeen was found to be around midway by population size in terms of the cities that had, since 2000, implemented new tram systems.

Colin Howden commented:

“In the past twenty years, over fifty cities across Europe have made massive investments in their public transport systems. Despite Aberdeen’s wealth, it has made no significant investment in its rail network during this period. Indeed, the last additions to the city’s rail infrastructure were in the mid-1980s, with the opening of Portlethen & Dyce stations.

“It is remarkable how generations of the city’s politicians have completely failed to prioritise the interests of public transport users, preferring instead to promote wave after wave of new road-building. It’s very clear who is personallty responsible for the Climate Crisis, and that is those politicians who have promoted car use in preference to sustainable transport — and who continue to do so to this day.

“However, the current closure of Union Street for physical distancing purposes shows that it is possible for swift and decisive action to be taken. While we don’t agree that buses should be banned from Union Street, it is heartening to at last see space being reallocated from private car users to walkers and cyclists. Never again will politicians be able to argue that they’re unable to take action.”