Sustainable transport makes economic sense. It's well known that walking, cycling and public transport are good for the environment – but Scotland is also missing out economically because of its over-reliance on unsustainable transport. If more people travelled on foot, by bike, or by public transport, Scotland would have a significantly more productive workforce than it does now. Public transport is a very efficient way of carrying large numbers of people: cars carrying only one occupant are an inefficient use of valuable road space.
Our current transport system imposes massive costs on the economy. The rise of car commuting leads many people to waste hours each day sitting in traffic congestion. The decline in walking and cycling has been a major contributor to Scotland's horrendous record on obesity, placing a massive financial burden on our health service.
Sustainable transport can help. Greater investment in buses, trams, trains and ferries is clearly required if we wish to have one of the best public transport systems in the world. However, traffic problems may also be tackled through measures that reduce traffic levels. Small-scale, local interventions are often highly cost-effective. For example, Safe Routes to School projects and Workplace Travel Plans can reduce morning peak-hour congestion in a way that large-scale infrastructure projects often cannot.
Most fundamentally, a move to a sustainable transport system would reduce our climate emissions and our dependence on imported oil. This will certainly help the environment, but would also help Scotland's economy.
We need a transport system that is: