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Smart Mobility:

Urban population will double by 2050 and as cities grow, so will urban transportation; congestion will increase which will have a huge impact on other factors like environment and commuting time. Cities are full of cars, buses, trams, trains and pedestrians and therefore cities need to make transport mobility smarter, reliable, green and more efficient.

Mobility underpins everything we do as individuals, people need to move around to secure basic human needs. It is one of the most intractable challenges faced by Scottish government but the adoption of smart solutions can help to improve efficiency of the system and redistribute demand across routes and time. Technologies and services like smart parking, smart ticketing, real time journey planner, command and control centre, bike and car sharing enable smarter mobility and they benefit travellers, service producers and urban planners.

The growing demand for smart mobility solutions will address the congestion problem which currently costs the UK economy £15.3 billion per year in loss of production.

With over 53% of the world’s population now living in urban areas, mobility has become the number one issue for cities. Finding a solution to this challenge requires the combined expertise of transport, energy and ICT industries.

Scotland is renowned as a world leader in each of these sectors and is well placed to become the global location of choice for the demonstration of Smart Mobility products, services and business models.

That being said, transport remains Scottish government’s weak spot, with road traffic back to where it was in 2007 and the hugely polluting aviation sector doubling its impact.

Currently transport accounts for 28% of total Scottish Emissions. 

Scottish Government’s aim is to reduce emissions from transport in ways that promote sustainability and environmental well being. With the conventional car, expected fuel efficiency improvements of 30%-40% by 2035. With hybrid / electric battery prices are expected to halve but performance is expected to improve and double by 2035.

HGV’S – fuel efficiencies are expected to be around 25% by 2035. Low Carbon HGV’S (diesel, electric, biofuel, LNG) will become more popular around 2020.

Smart Mobility Picture 2016

Switched on Scotland:

In 2013, Scotland published the plug-in vehicle Roadmap, Switched On Scotland. The Roadmap set out a comprehensive strategy and a suite of actions to realise their ambitious vision of freeing Scotland’s towns, cities and communities from the damaging emissions of petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles by 2050.

A review of the Roadmap was published in 2016, it takes a detailed look at progress that has been made since 2013, against the goals and actions in the Roadmap. There are key areas of success, for example: every one of Scotland’s 32 community planning partnerships now have plug-in vehicles in their fleets; plug-in only taxi and car club fleets are operating in Scotland; and they have one of the most comprehensive networks of rapid charging points in Europe. The Minister for Transport and the Islands claims whilst progress has been made, there is still a lot more to be done if they are to achieve the decarbonisation of road transport by 2050.

Transport Scotland has stated that accelerating the widespread adoption of plug-in vehicles and other ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), such as hydrogen fuel cell buses and biofuel will continue to be a vital strand of its activity to reduce emissions from road transport.

Greener Travel, Greener Scotland: Grants and Funding:

The Government wants to see more electric vehicles on the road – so it’s offering Plug-in Grants to reduce the cost to people. Although an EV offers the owner significantly lower running costs there is a slightly higher initial cost for these cars. Therefore, to support drivers switching to an EV or hybrid, the Scottish Government is offering interest free loans to help with the financing and the closing date for applications is March 31st 2017.  The loan works as follows:

  • Loans of up to £35,000 to cover the cost of purchasing a new plug-in EV.
  • The loan can cover the cost of both pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
  • Repaid over a period of up to six years.
  • Second hand vehicles are not eligible.
  • The purchased vehicle should be the only plug-in vehicle owned by the applicant.

Public sector organisations have been procuring an increasing number of plug-in vehicles, supported by the Transport Scotland-funded Switched On Fleets initiative, which was managed by the Energy Saving Trust Scotland (EST) and Route Monkey. This initiative offered free, evidence-based analysis, identifying new opportunities for the cost effective deployment of plug-in vehicles in each of Scotland’s 32 Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs). Transport Scotland provided £2.5 million of grant funding to enable local authorities and their partners, including NHS Boards, emergency services, colleges and universities, to buy or lease plug-in vehicles.

The first phase of Switched on Fleets ran from 2014 to 2016, and resulted in over 240 new vehicles being introduced across the fleets of 50 public sector organisations. To enable them to build on this success, another £1.2 million of Transport Scotland funding for vehicles has been provided to the 32 CPPs in 2016/17.

Encouraging mass changeover to low carbon vehicles, from more polluting ones running on petrol or diesel, is a key to cleaner road transport in Scotland and a fundamental factor in achieving our ambitious climate change targets while also improving local air quality.

Improving Air Quality and Reducing Emissions:

In November 2015, the Scottish Government published Cleaner Air for Scotland, its low emission strategy.

The document outlines a vision that ‘Scotland’s air quality will be the best in Europe’, and also confirms the commitment to decarbonise transport, clearly making the links between transport, air quality and health. The strategy makes a commitment to continue to deliver the actions contained in the Roadmap in relation to increasing uptake of plug-in vehicles.

New figures ranking Scotland’s dirtiest streets confirm that air pollution remains a public health crisis in Scotland, according to analysis by Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Emilia Hanna, Air Pollution Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland said,

“Yet again, Scotland’s streets are shown to have dangerous levels of toxic pollution which are breaking legal limits that were due to be met in 2010. Pollution levels in our urban areas are showing little sign of improvement with some key streets even more polluted than in 2013.

“Air pollution is responsible for more than 2000 deaths in Scotland each year and costs the NHS here up to £2 billion annually. The time has come for our polluted air to be treated as the public health crisis it really is”.

Significantly reducing vehicle emissions in our towns and cities will improve health, reduce pollution related illnesses and consequently bring savings to healthcare. 


Educating people about air pollution is an incredibly important way of improving the quality of our air. Projects in your school will help to raise people’s awareness about the causes and impacts of air pollution. It also helps to let people know what they can do to tackle air pollution. Even small changes to our day to day lives can make a big difference to the quality of the air we breathe. Think about passing on some advice or information you have learned so far about air pollution. By passing on what you know you will help others to make a difference.

Where improvements have been seen, they have been too slow. This is a big focus area that Scottish Government has to improve and at a much faster pace.