A metro system in Glasgow and a mass transit system in Edinburgh form part of the Scottish Government’s vision for the future of transport.
In a report published on Wednesday, ministers highlight the need for sustainable, green investment in transport.
The Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) has now been split into two phases, with phase one focusing on short-term solutions which can be carried out in the next two to three years to help aid economic recovery post-pandemic.
Phase one recommendations highlight the need to invest in sustainable travel, and lay the groundwork for an inclusive, greener transport network.
Phase two of the strategy will look at the future of Scotland’s transport over the next 20 years.
As part of the longer term proposals, a Glasgow metro system is recommended which “may include one or more of bus rapid transit, tram, light rail and/or metro rail”.
The report also recommends an expansion of the Edinburgh tram network, with future plans including an inclusion of mass transit services to Edinburgh from neighbouring local authorities, or introducing a south suburban railway within the city and a cross-Forth light rail transit system to Fife.
Priorities for the short-term include supporting smart and sustainable travel across the country, with active freeways, and expanding the 20mph zones.
The 2021-22 draft budget set out an investment of £3.2 billion for the strategy, which includes £1.6 billion for rail and bus services and £100.5 million for active travel.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “As we continue to navigate our way through an unprecedented global health emergency, the investment decisions we make have never been so important.
“We want to lock-in the changes to the healthy, green travel options we’ve seen during the pandemic, while supporting interventions that will aid and help accelerate economic recovery.
“We are conducting a thorough, evidence-based review of the performance of Scotland’s strategic transport network across active travel, bus, ferry, rail and the trunk road network.
“Phase one sets out some of our transport investment priorities for the next few years, which will support a fair and sustainable economic recovery from the pandemic, while working towards our longer term goals of making Scotland more accessible for residents, visitors and businesses.”
Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “The success of Glasgow and its surrounding region is absolutely fundamental to the Scottish economy.
“Today’s report not only makes clear the pressing economic, environmental and social case for a much better-connected city and region, it also shows the potential of the metro project to deliver that transformation.
Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, said: “Rail is one of the greenest forms of public transport and we, alongside the Scottish Government, are working hard to decarbonise Scotland’s Railway by 2035.
“The rail industry is also ready to play its part in boosting the economy as we emerge from the pandemic – encouraging the public on to greener forms of transport and helping take lorries off Scotland’s roads by improving freight services on our railway.”
John Lauder, deputy chief executive of active travel charity Sustrans, said: “Sustrans Scotland welcomes the recognition of the importance of active travel in STPR2. The evidence and expertise to make Scotland’s transport greener, healthier and fairer is all there. The time to act is now.”