People who live, work in, or visit Oxford can have their say on proposals to introduce six trial traffic filters in the city. Traffic filters are part of Oxfordshire County Council’s central Oxfordshire travel plan and are supported by Oxford City Council.
The proposed traffic filters are expected to reduce traffic levels by more than a third within the city centre, reduce overall accidents by up to 15 per cent and significantly improve air quality in Oxford.
The consultation, which launches at 12 noon today (05 September) will run for four weeks. People can have their say on the proposals until 03 October by visiting letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/traffic-filters-2022.
If approved by Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet, the trial will start as an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) for a minimum of six months. The ETRO will allow Oxfordshire County Council to test the scheme and make any changes if needed. A second consultation will run alongside the trial period where people can submit their feedback based on their experience of driving through the traffic filters.
When they are operating, private cars will not be allowed through the traffic filters without a permit. All other vehicles including buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds and HGVs will be allowed at all times. Residents in Oxford and some areas just outside the city will be able to apply for a permit to drive through the traffic filters on up to 100 days per year.
Four traffic filters will be located on St Cross Road, Thames Street, St Clements and Hythe Bridge Street and will operate seven days a week from 7am to 7pm. The remaining filters will be located on Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way and will not operate on Sundays.
Councillor Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: “Traffic congestion is a persistent problem in our beloved city. Traffic is slowing down our buses, making cycling and walking unsafe and causing air pollution which is bad for our health.
“We need an affordable, sustainable and reliable transport system to help tackle inequalities and ensure that everyone, old and young can access the opportunities our county has to offer.”
“Such a system can play a leading role in improving air quality, providing better connectivity particularly for buses, pedestrians and cyclists, and improving the health and wellbeing of our communities.”
Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “Traffic filters are an important measure to strengthen our transport system. They will reduce the need to travel by car and make our buses faster, make walking and cycling the first natural choice for residents and improve our air quality.
“The location of the six proposed filters have been selected after a lot of research and conversations with our bus companies, businesses and other partners. By introducing these filters as a trial, we will be able to monitor their impact in real time and make any changes needed before making a decision on their long-term future.
“We are committed to listening to all views before introducing the trial. I encourage everyone who lives, works or visits Oxford to respond to our consultation.”
Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for Health and Transport, Oxford City Council, said: “Whether you travel by car, taxi, bus, bike or on foot – congestion impacts us all. Oxford’s medieval roads no longer have the capacity to handle the current ways of travelling, and we all need to think about how we move around the city for the sake of our health and the environment.
“Traffic filters allow us to reallocate road space in order to provide more room for buses, cycles, taxis, pedestrians, and those with permits. Reducing traffic jams will make new bus services profitable, ensuring residents have quick, fast, and reliable alternatives to driving.
“Having fewer cars on the roads will make our air cleaner, and people walking and cycling feel safer. I encourage everyone to take part in this consultation on the future of transport in our city.”
Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet will make a decision on the introduction of the trial traffic filters in November 2022.
The county council and city council are hosting two public events to introduce the plans in more detail and answer questions. They will be hosted on the dates below, and are open to all but registration is necessary:
- An in-person event at Wesley Memorial Hall: Tuesday 06 September from 5.00pm to 6.30pm.
- An online event: Thursday 08 September from 6.00pm to 7.30pm.
People can book to take part at https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/traffic-filters-2022.