Edinburgh is a growing city which, in normal times, has a congestion problem. If the city continues to grow, Edinburgh needs to think how people, goods and services can move around efficiently. Additionally, we have to think about the growing numbers of people commuting into Edinburgh, and how we deal with the climate emergency and air pollution.
Key to solving all these issues is “modal shift” – getting a greater proportion of people using more sustainable modes of transport. Paramount to this is investing in public transport, but we also have to ensure new developments are better connected to shops etc.
The Council’s “City Mobility Plan” sets out how this could be done. This plan sets out what’s needed to deliver a more sustainable, integrated, efficient, safe and inclusive transport system over the next decade.
This plan is, however, largely unfunded – the report describes the funding situation as “challenging”. Let me be clear, the Council will need funding from the Scot Gov to deliver this vision.
A second concern I have is the detail of what the Council hopes to achieve. Normally, SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) are the starting point for any plan. Councillors are being asked, however, to agree the City Mobility Plan without any targets for modal shift in place. We are being told “mode share targets will be set out in a Technical Note to support the monitoring of this Plan”.
The plan is not perfect and will evolve in response to funding and other pressures, but it is a good starting point those of us who want people, goods and services to be able to move around our capital efficiently and sustainably.
People will oppose this plan, but they need to explain how they’d solve Edinburgh’s future transport problems.