Public Health Scotland (PHS) welcomes Transport Scotland’s route-map to achieving a 20% reduction in car kilometres by 2030 and has published an evidence briefing to support the policy on behalf of the Public Health and Sustainable Transport Partnership group.

The Scottish Government set the target to reduce car kilometres travelled in Scotland by 20% by 2030 and this commitment is within both the  Update to the Climate Change Plan 2018 – 2032 Securing a Green Recovery on a Path to Net Zero and Programme for Government 2021.

The PHS briefing considers the likely overall impacts of this target on health and health inequalities. It provides high level consideration of the range of impacts likely to be associated with a reduction in car use and  is intended to provide Scottish Government, Local Authorities and others with a brief overview of the health impacts of the policy. Implementation will also support the National Transport Strategy priorities of equality, economy & health and wellbeing; the Public Health priorities; NHS Sustainability priorities & National Performance Framework Outcomes.

Ali Macdonald, PHS Organisational Lead for Healthy, Active Places said:

“The transport system can both benefit and harm individual health and community wellbeing depending on the mode, cost, availability and accessibility. The evidence strongly suggests that a reduction in car use, with associated support for other modes of transport, should benefit health and health inequalities in Scotland.

"It is important to provide adequate investment and support for alternative modes of transport and not solely implement measures that discourage driving. It is vital to ensure that people can still access the services, amenities, education and employment that are integral parts of their lives.  A place-based approach, including complementary policies that improve the quality of local places and support access to services without the need to travel, such as the 20-minute neighbourhood concept, will be needed both to support the target and to help realise health benefits. This will also help to reduce health inequalities in localities.”

Read the evidence briefing

Last updated: 09 February 2022