BUILDING tunnels or bridges to replace key ferry routes around Scotland is just one of the sweeping recommendations put forward by the Government’s newly published transport review.

The 20-year investment strategy also includes a metro system that could “transform” the Glasgow area, increased mass transit links for Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and “active freeways” forming a part of a much larger “long-distance active travel network”.

Other potential investments include a smart, integrated public transport ticketing system, an expansion of 20mph zones, decarbonisation of ferries and trains, and developing a net zero freight and logistics network for Scotland.

It also mentions work to improve the “vital artery” on the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful - a key road that faces frequent blockages due to landslips.

READ MORE: 'No Rest and Be Thankful solution until 2030': Road issues enrage locals

In all, the second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) makes 45 recommendations under six key themes to make transport in Scotland more sustainable.

These include:

The Clyde Metro

The review outlines plans for a metro system encompassing an area of around 15km in all directions from Glasgow’s city centre. Such a system could include a combination of bus rapid transit, light rail, and metro rail and would be targeted at areas where connections are currently poor, including places where there is deprivation.

A map of the potential system (below) is provided as part of a draft technical report.

The National:

Fixed links to replace ferries

STPR2 recommends replacing current ferry routes at the Sound of Harris, the Sound of Barra and between Craignure on Mull and Oban on the Scottish mainland. It says that putting bridges or tunnels in place could “improve reliability, connectivity, capacity and crossing times”. It also says that adding further fixed links between islands in the Outer Hebrides “would allow for the reconfiguration of transport provision” between there and the mainland.

Long-distance active travel network

One goal outlined in the review is to “provide a nationwide network connecting Scotland’s communities for people walking, wheeling and cycling”. The report says that towns and villages would be connected to cities to encourage people to switch from driving cars. It says a key factor in doing this would be “addressing safety fears through effective segregation from traffic”.

The Government said that such investments would help to reduce overall demand for private vehicles, improve accessibility to employment, education, healthcare and leisure amenities, and strengthen strategic transport connections to, from and within rural areas.

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson said the review showed a “repositioning of our transport investment priorities”.

He went on: “The investment decisions we make now have never been more important. A green recovery from Covid-19 will set us on a path to delivering a fair and just transition to Net Zero.

“The pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in travel behaviours and we want to ensure that people continue to make sustainable travel choices, that they return to public transport and our economic recovery does not overly rely on road-based travel.”

READ MORE: Free public transport in Glasgow should be COP26 legacy, campaigners say

Glasgow council leader Susain Aitken said the Clyde Metro could be “transformational”. She went on: “Over the past several decades, modern rapid transit systems like Metro are what Glasgow’s comparator cities across the globe have been busy constructing. We cannot continue to be left behind.

“More than arguably any other single intervention, Clyde Metro can help deliver a vibrant, prosperous, inclusive and sustainable city region, a transport system fit for our international standing and ambitions.”

Alex Hynes, the managing director of Scotland’s Railway, and Karen McGregor, the director of capital programmes for cycling and walking charity Sustrans Scotland, both welcomed the role public and active transport is to be given.

You can find the full STPR2 report here, and the draft technical report here