Sleighing congestion at Xmas

While everyone else prepares to watch the latest Christmas blockbusters, there’s one team of county council employees who will be watching something that’s hopefully far less exciting on the ‘big screen’.

Over the festive period, the county council has a team monitoring the roads and traffic signals so that any problems can be dealt with as quickly as possible. It’s part of the council’s commitment to help people lead safe and healthy lives.

The team is based at Oxfordshire County Council’s traffic control centre in Kidlington and their knowledge, combined with technology that includes cameras in key locations and live traffic flow data, usually goes unseen. But if there’s a problem, their help can be invaluable.

Lights are not just for Christmas

The Christmas period brings unusual traffic patterns and its own unique problems. The council’s dedicated team is on hand during the busiest times to keep an eye out for unforeseen problems.

Things like faulty traffic lights or a crash somewhere on the network often mean congestion and the quicker an engineer can be dispatched or on-call colleagues alerted, the better.

And, as well as being the base for the county council’s traffic experts, the building is also home to BBC Radio Oxford’s traffic and travel presenters. They play an integral role in quickly getting important information out to road users at key times during the day via the radio and social media.

Early present for road users

To keep things moving Oxfordshire County Council has introduced an embargo on all non-essential roadworks on the major routes in and out of the larger commercial centres so that Christmas traffic – be it cars, cycles, pedestrians or public transport - can flow more easily at this peak time. The embargo, which started on 10 December, runs to 07 January 2019.

Make your list and check it twice

Regardless of where you plan to visit the best advice is always to plan your journeys. You can find more useful information about what is happening on the roads here and keep up to date with public transport times here.

You can also keep up to date through BBC Oxford on your car radio on 95.2FM or via DAB and you can also follow them on Twitter via @bbcoxtravel

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Responding quickly to any incident that could cause disruption to road users is a priority, particularly during the busy festive period.

“Please drive carefully in cold and icy conditions. We’ll do our best to ‘keep you moving’, part of our commitment is to ensure all of our residents have a safe, healthy and happy Christmas.”