Improvements to Oxford city centre completed

Visitors to Oxford are reaping the benefits of a series of improvements carried out around the city centre to support public transport and businesses.

Oxfordshire County Council completed the programme of 14 construction projects, following funding from the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP). The Oxford City Public Transport Improvements Scheme has increased capacity and reduced delays for buses, increased services to the Westgate Centre, improved air quality, and reduced congestion in the city centre by creating additional bus layover space.

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet member for Environment, said: “While it is usually the large building schemes that grab the attention, in this instance a series of smaller projects have added up to improve the situation in Oxford city centre, helping to cut traffic delays and congestion.

“I am sure that people who rely on the buses will appreciate the extra bus stops, the improvements to the existing ones, and the reduced delays. Cyclists and pedestrians too will benefit from increased safety measures and the positive impact the measures as a whole will have on air quality.

“I thank the dedicated staff who completed this work despite the additional challenges they faced due to lockdown.”

OxLEP secured £1.3m of funding for the project through the government’s Local Growth Fund. It is hoped that these changes will also aid the COVID-19 economic recovery and support the clean growth challenge set by government as part of its industrial strategy programme.

OxLEP said it is committed to improving infrastructure and connectivity across Oxfordshire. It is hoped greater connectivity and accessibility within Oxford city centre through this programme will help to reduce congestion and travel times, support further job creation and improve the quality of life for people and communities.

Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of OxLEP, said: “The completion of such a significant project – that will have a positive impact on our business community and indeed infrastructure in Oxford – is excellent news, particularly in a post-COVID-19 economy.

“As the local enterprise partnership for Oxfordshire, we will continue to play a vitally important role for the county moving forward, securing investment that enables new opportunities that benefit the county’s businesses for many years to come.

“Oxfordshire has significant ambitions, including the aim of becoming a top-three global innovation ecosystem by 2040 through the county’s local industrial strategy and this Local Growth Fund project will support these aspirations.”

The 14 projects also included:

  • the removal of traffic signals
  • changes to pedestrian crossings
  • creating a tourist coach stop
  • improvements for cyclists
  • the digitisation of bus gate enforcement
  • additional bus stops and improvements to existing bus stops
  • the relocation of taxi ranks
  • improvements to real time bus passenger information
  • changes to traffic signals.

The Local Growth Fund investment aims to allow LEPs to use their local knowledge to promote growth in their individual regions. Analysis has shown that for every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested, £4.81 in benefits could be generated.

In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for the county.