Street work starts in preparation for traffic filters trial

Work starts today (26 February) on Oxford streets to prepare for six traffic filters as part of a trial approved by Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet in November 2022.

The trial is designed to reduce traffic, make bus journeys faster and make walking and cycling safer as part of the council’s vision for improved travel across Oxfordshire. Traffic filters are also intended to help reduce local air pollution and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Early electrical works this week will take place overnight near the filter points at Hollow way, Hythe Bridge St, St Cross Road, St Clements, Marston Ferry Road and Thames Street. One night of work is needed at each of the six locations.

In March, contractors will also clear vegetation on Thames Street island and complete survey work.

Councillor Judy Roberts, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Development Strategy, said: “We expect the traffic filters trial to have a big impact, reducing traffic across the city and making it easier to get around. The filters complement other measures in Oxford aimed at improving buses, taxis, walking and cycling.

“We are preparing to begin the trial when Network Rail’s work to improve the railway station is complete in autumn. We’ll keep disruption to a minimum as essential work is done to install signs and electrics over the coming months.

“During the traffic filters trial period, residents can share their views in a public consultation to help the council evaluate the success of the project before a decision is made about whether to continue with it.”

Traffic filters should reduce traffic levels in Oxford by managing the use of certain roads by private car. All other vehicles including emergency services, taxis, buses, coaches, all vans, mopeds, motorbikes and HGVs can pass through traffic filters at all times.

The trial is due to start in October this year, after Network Rail’s work to improve Oxford Station is complete. Before then, contractors working on behalf of the council are installing signage and cameras in stages until September, with most work expected in May and June. Disruption will be kept to a minimum but some traffic control will be needed to ensure safety.

About the traffic filters trial

Traffic filters are part of the central Oxfordshire travel plan and Oxfordshire’s local transport and connectivity plan.

Traffic filters are intended to:

  • make walking and cycling safer and easier
  • make bus journeys quicker and more reliable
  • enable new and improved bus routes
  • support investment in modern buses
  • help reduce local air pollution and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Residents in Oxford and some areas just outside the city will be able to apply for a free permit allowing them to drive through the traffic filters for up to 100 days each year.

Other Oxfordshire residents will be able to apply for a free permit allowing them to drive through the traffic filters for up to 25 days each year.

As part of the trial, there will be a six-month public consultation, and the project’s impacts will be closely monitored. The council may make changes during the trial, including in response to monitoring or feedback.

The filters are not physical barriers. The filter points on six roads in the city will be enforced by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

Traffic filters have different operating hours, depending on location. Cars should not drive through the filter point in operating hours unless they have a permit or are exempt. Operating hours for most filters are Monday to Sunday, 7am - 7pm or, at Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way, Monday to Saturday, 7am - 9am and 3pm -6pm.

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