Accessibility Analysis Required by New Scottish Planning Policy

The new planning guidance for transport and planning in Scotland, SPP17 and PAN751, strengthens the requirements for accessibility analysis within transport assessments and development plans. Best practice guidance for meeting this requirement was developed by DHC for the Scottish Executive2.

Although NPPG17 and PAN57, which the guidance replaces, had noted the need for considering accessibility issues, the new guides significantly strengthen the requirements for quantitative analysis.

The guidance states3 “Good accessibility will be achieved where many people are linked to opportunities by networks of regular, reliable and affordable travel. Accessibility analysis is a useful technique in assessing development as it focuses on individual travel rather than on different transport modes. It can be used as an alternative or alongside other techniques to underpin policy development and to inform mode share targets for individual proposals. It allows the quantitative consideration of links between transport and other issues and helps to ensure that the most efficient resource allocation is made to focus development in sustainable locations.”

DHC has further developed the analytical techniques in the 2000 Scottish guidance as part of work in England developing the 2004 Accessibility Planning Guidance for Department for Transport. This also includes a companion guide from ODPM (Office of Deputy Prime Minister) for land use planning. The DHC work has identified that accessibility can be measured in so many ways that users can become confused. All authorities therefore need to define standardised indicators in local transport and development plans which can be applied consistently in policy, planning and funding decisions.


  1. Planning Advice Note: Pan 75 – Planning for Transport – published by Scottish Executive on 17 August 2005.
  2. DHC 2000. Review of accessibility analysis techniques and their application and guidance on accessibility analysis techniques. Scottish Executive.
  3. PAN75 Paragraph 22.

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