John Lauder, former CEO of Sustrans, has taken up a permanent role with Scotland’s Railway after a 12-month secondment. He is now leading the development of ‘A Railway for Everyone’, an accessibility strategy set to be published later this autumn.
‘A Railway for Everyone’ is a strategy that focuses on the intersection of accessibility and sustainable transport, with a specific emphasis on how people travel to and within railway stations. The aim is to create a transportation system that is accessible to all individuals.
Scotland’s Railway recently unveiled its Sustainable Travel to Stations (STtS) strategy, which aims to encourage passengers to choose healthy and sustainable modes of transportation, such as walking, cycling, and public transit, for their journeys between local neighborhoods and stations.
Having spent nearly two decades leading the development of active travel policy and funding at Sustrans, John Lauder collaborated with various stakeholders, including local authorities, regional transport partnerships, bus and coach operators, connectivity commissions, and planning bodies, to develop the STtS strategy.
In his new role, John is committed to working closely with train operating colleagues, particularly ScotRail, to ensure a seamless journey for passengers from their front door to their train seat. By integrating Scotland’s stations into the communities they serve, the goal is to not only improve access to public transport but also promote sustainable travel, enhance safety, and facilitate social justice.
John emphasizes that the challenge lies not only in reaching the station but also in considering the entire journey, from leaving home to sitting down in the train. Ticket prices, fare boundaries, and overall accessibility must be taken into account to create an inclusive transportation system.
To support this aspect, John has developed a practitioner’s guide aimed at local government officials, regional planners, transportation professionals, community groups operating near stations, and the wider rail industry. This guide is intended to assist in the assessment, planning, and delivery of properly integrated railway stations. It offers practical advice and promotes meaningful dialogue towards creating an integrated transport system in Scotland.
Scott Prentice, ScotRail’s head of business development, emphasizes the importance of supporting a more integrated transport network in Scotland. ScotRail has invested significantly in station access and transport integration to promote environmentally-friendly travel beyond the railway tracks. The collaboration with Sustrans and other partner organizations, such as local authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships, bus companies, and bike hire firms, aims to make integrated sustainable journeys more accessible and convenient for individuals.
The practical guide developed by John Lauder is expected to facilitate the assessment and planning of railway stations, while supporting Scotland’s transition towards an integrated transport system. It is a versatile resource that can be utilized by various stakeholders involved in transportation planning and station development.
In conclusion, Scotland’s Railway, led by John Lauder, is committed to enhancing accessibility and promoting sustainable travel within the transportation network. By integrating stations into communities and considering the entire journey experience, the aim is to create a more inclusive and convenient transport system for all individuals in Scotland. The development of the ‘A Railway for Everyone’ strategy, along with the accompanying practitioner’s guide, will play a crucial role in achieving this vision.