New transport poverty briefing

The Public Health and Sustainable Transport Partnership Group, hosted by Public Health Scotland, has produced a briefing on transport poverty to raise awareness and guide action.

What is transport poverty?

Transport plays a vital role in our health and wellbeing. It provides links to education and employment, to social connections, to affordable and quality nutrition, and to leisure activities.

A lack of transport options that are available, reliable, affordable, accessible and safe, referred to as transport poverty, creates serious health and social implications by blocking people’s ability to meet their daily needs and provide a good quality of life.

The briefing – how will it help?

Based on a review of key literature and engagement with a wide range of partners, this briefing:

  • highlights the causes of transport poverty and how it contributes to poor health and health inequalities
  • provides recommendations to increase awareness of the issue and guide actions for change

Ruth Glassborow, Director of Place and Wellbeing, Public Health Scotland, said:

“”At a time when life expectancy is falling and social inequalities are widening, transport poverty is adding to those problems with adverse effects on health and health inequalities.

“Working with key stakeholders, the Public Health and Sustainable Transport Partnership Group has developed both a working definition of transport poverty, and a model describing the main causes and the ways in which it influences health and health inequalities.

“By encouraging stakeholders from all sectors to adopt the definition and use the model to monitor, evaluate and inform actions in their own area, we can reduce transport poverty in Scotland.”

Emily Farquhar, Senior Project Officer (Active Travel), Sustainability Action Programme team said:

“As the Public Health and Sustainable Transport Partnership Group’s insightful briefing shows, transport poverty is widening inequalities and having a profound impact on health outcomes in Scotland.

“It is vital NHS Scotland responds to this. Every board can make a positive contribution to reducing transport poverty by prioritising active travel, public transport and car sharing in their respective regions.

“Boards are already delivering successful interventions to combat transport poverty, such as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s expanded Cycle-to-Work scheme which now provides a broader range of repayment options to make cycling more accessible to staff on lower incomes. However, it’s important we maintain momentum across the country.

“The Sustainability Action Programme team is able to support Boards to tackle transport poverty. Please get in touch and we can help by providing best practice guidance, identifying funding opportunities and signposting you to relevant partner organisations.”

Find out more

You can view the Transport poverty briefing on the Public Health Scotland website, and if you have any enquiries about the briefing, email

To speak to Emily in the Sustainability Action Programme team, email