Reducing rural car dependency in the Scottish Highlands

Connecting communities and reducing carbon emissions


Developing practical and cost effective alternatives to private car ownership

We were commissioned to explore different transport options to reduce private car dependency in the rural communities of the Scottish Highlands.

Our client, Soirbheas, is a registered charity whose objectives are to strengthen and support the communities of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass. It aims to strengthen the local economy, protect the environment for future generations and provide services that enable elderly people to live longer in their homes.    

The feasibility study focused on Glen Urquhart and Strathglass. It included an understanding of the scope, timelines and project costs of various opportunities moving forward.

We evidenced transport challenges faced by residents and visitors in Glen Urquhart and Strathglass through stakeholder engagements. It also appraised options that were originally identified in the outcomes of the Local Energy Plan.  

Priority use cases were classified where local residents had the greatest dependency on fossil fuelled cars. This included taking children to and from school, commuting, leisure travel, school trips, and attending community groups without a fossil-fuelled car.

We also defined the challenges for visitors. This included traveling to and from Drumnadrochit, Glen Urquhart and Strathglass without a fossil-fuelled car and parking at Urquhart Castle in peak season.  

Drawing on these challenges, our recommendations set out the opportunity for a rural transport hub to provide information and co-ordinate transport services for the community and visitors in the areas. The outcomes had a particular focus on active travel and community transport solutions.


Image credit: Craig Bradford