Councils say work must be done to Oxford ring road to prevent traffic

MORE must still be done to solve traffic woes in Oxford that are expected to deteriorate this week, senior councillors have admitted. Thousands of children across the city will restart school this week – but councils have warned that traffic will only increase until Oxford’s transport network is transformed. The number of vehicles using the city’s ring road has increased by five per cent in the last seven years, according to traffic data.

Congestion, which often brings city roads to a halt, affects schools, hospitals, Oxford’s universities and businesses. Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council said they are working on new strategies to cut traffic problems in the long term. Alex Hollingsworth, the city council’s cabinet member for planning and sustainable transport said: “Congestion in Oxford is county wide problem but particularly impacts the city.

“It causes commuter stress, adds to business costs and damages our health. We’ve already announced some bold initiatives like the zero emissions zone, but we need to go further and faster. “We want to see fewer vehicles on the roads, and that means we have to act to create better alternatives to driving while providing incentives to leave the car behind.

“Looking at cities like London and Nottingham we can see that when the local authorities provide strong leadership people change their travel choices.” READ MORE: GBP40m replacement of Kennington bridge could cause traffic delays in Oxford for two years The figures show there have been more journeys made by bike across the city.

Since 2012, 23 per cent more people have cycled along the ring road. Cycling has increased by 13 per cent in the city centre. Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “It’s time to tackle congestion head-on and re-think travel to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, which have a severe impact on our health and environment.

“The county and city councils are working on some bold solutions which we want to discuss with residents, commuters and employers. “We want Oxfordshire’s transport system to be largely zero-emission within 20 years and have started addressing issues step by step, working on the best options that bring the greatest benefits to the county.” She added: “Some of these may be contentious, but we need to think differently about reducing the volume of private cars on the roads to improve journeys overall: for drivers, bus users, cyclists and pedestrians.”

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Scott Urban, the chairman of the Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT), which includes cyclists, pedestrians and environmental campaigners, said: “We want to see more efficient, safe, active and sustainable low-carbon travel and a reduction in traffic, pollution and noise to create more attractive, accessible and people-friendly streets.”

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