Calls to cut Oxford traffic, bus versus horse and cart

Faster public transport will increase ridership and improve air quality, say local environmental groups.

A coalition of campaign organizations in Oxford has welcomed proposals to reduce traffic levels in the city, speeding up journey times on buses which the Oxfordshire Liveable Streets organization called ‘no faster than the horse and cart”.

The council’s own figures back up that claim, with average bus speeds at just 10mph, and on particularly busy routes to and from central areas and major employment sites, services run even slower.

“It shows that we need to modernize our city and make it much easier to live in and move around. By limiting polluting vehicles to key points, as the council proposes, we can speed up the use of public transport and make Oxford livable,’ says Scott Urban, spokesperson for Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, which coordinates 16 groups under the aegis of CoHSAT. Oxfordshire, or Coalition of Health Streets and Active Travel.

Policymakers are now launching a consultation on plans to install six trial traffic filters on key Oxford routes, which the council says will ‘improve bus services and journey times, reduce crashes walking and cycling and will improve air quality in the city”. Essentially, the scheme will prevent unlicensed cars from entering certain areas, while vehicles such as buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds and heavy goods vehicles will be permitted.

“Air pollution slows down our children’s lungs and is associated with diabetes and dementia. While we would like to see the filters also used to combat pollution from diesel pickup trucks, these plans are a good first step in attempts to make our city a greener and more pleasant place to live and grow,” Urban added.

Image: Liv Cashier