Transform Scotland - For Sustainable Transport

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Ensure social justice is considered in the planning of transport

We want everyone to have access to good transport.

We need a transport system that doesn't disadvantage the elderly, the disabled, or those on low incomes.

Social justice perspectives on transport are too often neglected, despite widespread evidence that those on lower incomes get a poorer deal in terms of transport availability, and that they are likely to bear a higher share of its environmental costs.

Policies that boost the attractiveness of individual motorised travel at the expense of public and active transport alternatives hold no benefits for the 36% of Scotland’s households that do not have access to a car. The share of such households is particularly high in urban areas (59% in Glasgow, 42% in Edinburgh) and the overwhelming majority of these have low incomes. Even in the Highlands, where social exclusion on economic grounds can be exacerbated by genuine geographic isolation, one household in five has no access to a car.

Existing policies also aggravate the social exclusion of people who are unable to travel by private car on grounds of ill health, disabilities and/or age (older people and the young).

We need a focus on providing seamless travel for vulnerable groups e.g. older people, and the mobility impaired. There also needs to be action to ensure that women are not dissuaded from using public transport through the fear of crime.

We should aim to provide seamless travel for vulnerable parts of the population. We need to ensure that older people and the mobility impaired are able to access sustainable transport. We also need to ensure that women are not disuaded from using public transport through the fear of crime.

The introduction of social inclusion audits of all transport delivery plans. This would help ensure that adequate levels of funding are allocated to transport modes disproportionately used by low-income sections of the population (principally buses and walking).

photograph: J Bewley/Sustrans