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When developing public charging infrastructure, it is important you consider the Scottish government’s transport priorities. The national transport strategy, for example, aims to significantly reduce the level of private vehicle usage, particularly in densely populated urban areas. Charging infrastructure installations must therefore strike a balance between supporting those for whom private vehicles are essential and encouraging others to move up the sustainable transport hierarchy, for example, switching from car use to active travel or public transport.

The image below shows the sustainable transport hierarchy. The hierarchy aims to guide people through the travel decision-making process by encouraging them to consider the most sustainable modes of transport first – working down from the top.

Public charging infrastructure in urban areas should encourage integration with other low carbon transport modes, such as active travel and public transport. Meaning public charging infrastructure should ideally form a component of mobility hubs. Key locations for urban public chargepoints may therefore be at sites of existing public transport and active travel nodes.

Discounted charging tariffs is one solution that’s being explored to encourage changes in travel behaviour. North Ayrshire Council, for example, has implemented tariff-free charging at public transport interchanges to encourage people to switch from car to public transport in these locations.

While we do not recommend free public charging, setting low-cost tariffs at park and ride sites on the outskirts of cities could be a model to incentivise people not to take their private vehicle into urban centres.

The integrating your chargepoints into the wider sustainable transport system section of this guidance provides further detail on the potential relationship between public charging infrastructure and other sustainable transport modes.

The sustainable transport hierarchy.