Transport is Scotland’s biggest contributor to climate change, emitting over a quarter of all of our greenhouse gas emissions. By rethinking how you use your car and reducing the number of daily journeys you take, you can help make Scotland a healthier, fairer, greener place to live and significantly contribute towards Scotland reaching net zero.
Whether it’s popping to the shops, doing the school pick-up, driving to a park to enjoy a weekend walk in nature, or the daily commute, many of us rely on our car to get around. However, these small journeys add up and unfortunately, so do carbon emissions.
To help you reduce your car journeys, the Scottish Government offers support and initiatives that make rethinking your travel habits a walk, wheel, or cycle in the park.
From investing in digital technology to help you travel less, supporting ‘20 minute neighbourhoods’ so you have all you need on your doorstep, improving walking and cycling routes and investing in public transport and car sharing schemes, we’re making it easier, safer and cheaper to get around without a car.
Changing how we travel will not only benefit our communities generally, through improved air quality, safer roads and increased support of local businesses, but we can each benefit individually. Using alternative means of transport other than our cars can save us time, money, improve our mental and physical health and provide more opportunity to connect with others.
Digital technology has made it easier and quicker than ever to access local services and purchase goods. A top net zero tip is to think about the different ways you could use technology to reduce your car journeys and even save you time and money.
As part of our ambition to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030, the Scottish Government is investing in increasing digital technology adoption and reducing the barriers to uptake for individuals and businesses across Scotland.
We’re doing this by ensuring everyone has access to superfast broadband, as well as providing training, connectivity and devices to the homes of our most vulnerable citizens through the Connecting Scotland programme. We’re also developing a Work Local Challenge programme which focuses on the provision of local work hubs and office space solutions to enhance workplace choice.
All of these initiatives should help give you the flexibility to travel less, with the option to:
Enjoying local access to goods, services, amenities and social connections has countless benefits, from reducing the number of journeys, to boosting and supporting local economies and communities.
The Scottish Government is investing in stronger and more vibrant communities through our Place-Based Investment Programme to help support town centres and create neighbourhoods that provide most of our daily needs within a 20-minute walk from home, with the addition of safe cycling and public transport options. Not only will this make life more convenient, but it will reduce carbon emissions.
Additionally, to make travel by walking, wheeling and cycling safer we’re introducing a speed limit of 20mph on appropriate roads in built-up areas, ensuring that by 2025, Scotland’s towns and cities will be safer and more accessible to all.
So, what changes can you make to live more locally and reduce your car journeys? Here are three suggestions:
Changing how you travel for local journeys, to walking, wheeling or cycling, can be a fun, active and more environmentally friendly way to get around. For longer journeys, think about the methods of public transport you can take that will get you there instead of using the car. There are plenty of options and we are dedicated to providing the support you need to make switching easier, faster and safer for you and your family.
The Low Emission Zone Support Fund offered an incentive for low-income households to take older, more polluting vehicles off the road. Many of those living near a Low Emission Zone were able to apply for up to £3000 for the safe disposal of an older vehicle, including grants worth up to £500 through the Travel Better scheme. You can register your interest in any future funding by contacting your local Home Energy Scotland centre on freephone 0808 808 2282.
To make it easier for everyone to choose cycling, we’re rolling out a pilot to deliver free bikes to school-age children who otherwise couldn’t afford one to encourage the adoption of cycling from an early age. Additionally, for adults who want to get back into cycling, the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme is running until the end of May 2022 to help with the cost of bike repairs, making it safer to get back on the road.
We’re also making it cheaper and more convenient for young people to travel by bus through our Under 22s Bus Pass scheme, which provides nationwide free bus travel for under 22s, in addition to existing concessionary travel for disabled people, over 60s .
So, how can you switch your mode of travel away from car?
Try a travel planning app such as Traveline Scotland to help plan public transport journeys from door to door. Check your eligibility for concessionary travel and apply for your National Entitlement Card if eligible. For more information on travelling by public transport, visit our guide.
It might not always be possible to travel less, stay local or switch to other modes of travel. If car travel is the only feasible option for your trip, consider how you could make the best use of your trip, such as by combining different trip purposes into a single journey, or sharing a car journey with a someone. You can do this by:
Starting just one conversation can create a ripple effect of positive actions and help to make Scotland a healthier, fairer, greener place to live for everyone. To learn more, visit our Climate Conversations Pack.
People’s travel habits are shaped by the wider context in which they live. The Scottish Government initiatives outlined above can help your organisation play a vital role in helping staff, customers and service users to reduce their car journeys, including by travelling less, living more locally, switching mode or combining journeys. Below are some of the actions your organisation could take.