SELF-DRIVING cars will be on the Kingdom's roads in just a few years time while "artificial intelligence" is being trialled to improve Fife Council's pothole fixing regime.

Councillors were told that new technology offers "huge potential to improve our transport system" and that fully autonomous vehicles "are likely to be available to some users by the late 2020s, improving safety and allowing those who cannot drive access to a private car".

The council are also backing the autonomous bus trials which will see passengers travelling between Dunfermline and Edinburgh without a traditional driver behind the wheel.

In just a few years they envisage vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells will also be in use, along with more "personal transport devices" such as e-scooters and e-bikes.

There are roughly 1,500 electric vehicles registered in Fife, that's forecast to increase to "between 20,000 and 100,000 by 2030", which would be up to half of all vehicles in the Kingdom.

They want more public charging points and say the existing roads need to be better too.

In 2021-22 the council resurfaced three per cent of the road network, this year approximately 34 per cent of the network needs to be "considered for maintenance".

As well as throwing money at the problem, there was an extra £3.5m allocated in February's budget, one thing they're already trying to tackle road defects and potholes is "artificial intelligence", with a new trial to "support our prioritisation of road maintenance".

The broad themes of the council's proposed local transport strategy are to reduce car use – and carbon emissions – and boost the use of public transport, as well as walking, cycling and wheeling.

Part of that is calling for fares to be lowered, maintaining free bus travel for under 22s and over 60s and keeping the local authority's own concession scheme, allowing over 60s to ride the rails in Fife for £1.

Another aspect is improving the service to areas that are poorly served by public transport, such as the West Fife villages, while they'll also launch a 'refreshed' Fife lift share scheme.

A report to Tuesday's environment, transportation and climate change scrutiny committee says most journeys in the Kingdom are still made by car but half are under 3km, short enough to be walked, cycled or wheeled within 15 minutes.

With a third of Fifers classified as obese, in part "due to a sedentary lifestyle", the council will take advantage of the "significant funding" the Scottish Government will make available for new walking and cycling routes and hope people will use them and get more active.

There are already 330km of such traffic-free routes in the Kingdom but users have complained that the network is "disjointed", "feels unsafe" and "lacks cycle parking" and proper signage.