The Scottish government on Monday called on businesses to help shape the future plans for investment in Scotland's transport infrastructure.
Scottish Transport Minister Derek Mackay made the appeal to local, national, and international businesses as he announced details of a research project that will look at the way Scotland's key sectors use transport networks vis-a-vis business growth and its challenges.
"We fully recognize the vital role that an efficient national transport network plays in Scotland's economic and social well-being, which includes creating the right conditions for our businesses to thrive and to grow," Mackay said.
"We have a proven track record in making significant investments in our transport infrastructure. For example, since 2007, we have invested over 14 billion pounds (about 21 billion U.S. dollars) in transport, including 23 major improvements to our motorways and trunk roads completed, 27 km of new railways delivered, and six new stations opened," he noted.
The Scottish government is continuing record levels of the investment, Mackay noted, adding that this year alone, 1 billion pounds are being put into public transport and other sustainable transport options to encourage people to use their cars less.
"Rail services and infrastructure continue to be high on our agenda too, with 5 billion pounds investment in Scotland's railways committed between 2014 and 2019," Mackay said.
Transport Scotland officials plan to engage with representatives from the Scottish key sectors including creative industries, energy, financial and business services, food and drink, life sciences, and sustainable tourism (as well as retail for rail freight research purposes).
This will help the Scottish government understand how the key sectors use key roads and motorways, and also identify opportunities for prioritizing future transport spending, the Scottish government minister said.
The Scottish Council for Development and Industry will be engaged in the study, and the research project report is expected to be ready by the summer this year.