New transport planning approach approved

Document will help Oxfordshire achieve aims of transport and connectivity plan

A new document has been approved that supports wider transport plans for Oxfordshire, the aims of which include cutting the number of car journeys in the county by more than half by 2040.

The Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP) was adopted by Oxfordshire County Council earlier this year. Its ambition is to create a net zero transport system by 2040, improving health and wellbeing, tackling the climate emergency, reducing private vehicle use and prioritising walking, cycling and the use of public transport.

On Tuesday 20 September, the council’s cabinet approved new requirements for transport planning based on the principle of ‘decide and provide’ rather than ‘predict and provide’ which will help the county move towards that goal.

Councillor Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: “This document signals a change in attitude to the issue of travel in the county. It shows where our priorities lie and will help support the aims of the LTCP.

“Replacing the ‘predict and provide’ model means we will stop using past traffic trends to determine the future need for infrastructure, as this maintains the status quo by perpetuating dependence on cars.

“This is believed to be one of the first, if not the first, instance of a local highway authority expressly requiring new developments to do this, putting Oxfordshire County Council at the forefront of advancing transport planning practice.”

The ‘decide and provide’ approach decides on a preferred vision and then provides the means to work towards that, while also accommodating the uncertainty of the future. This enables more positive transport planning and helps implement a hierarchy of users by considering walking, cycling and public transport up front.

For example, where developers believe that schemes will lead to an increase in private cars, which the network cannot cope with, they must first consider providing high quality, sustainable and active travel arrangements before identifying changes to infrastructure, such as junctions, to deal with additional traffic.

The document feeds into the aims of the LTCP, which is a wide-ranging document with 54 policies and aims to provide the backbone for the council’s commitment to invest in an inclusive, integrated and sustainable transport network for the county.

It looks at ways of reducing the need to travel and discouraging unnecessary individual private vehicle use through making walking, cycling, public and shared transport the natural first choice. 

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