THOUSANDS of households, motorists, bus and rail users across Oxfordshire will be quizzed in a bid to paint an accurate picture of chronic congestion problems.

And with 56,600 new homes to be built in the county over the next two decades, transport chiefs want to act now to combat the issue.

In the biggest project of its kind in the county, drivers will be flagged down and quizzed on their journey habits and 10,000 households will be visited.

The work, lasting three weeks, will start later this month and will also include public transport surveys, traffic counts and journey time analysis in order to build a picture of the county on the move.

Transport planners at Oxfordshire County Council will then use the results to draw up detailed schemes to tackle city congestion.

The information will also be used to help shape future housing and commercial development. As part of the Access to Oxford scheme, the county council, along with Network Rail and the Highways Agency, has been allocated £88m from the Regional Transport Board in 2013-14.

The council's cabinet member for transport, David Robertson, said an accurate picture was necessary in order to draw up innovative schemes.

The cash has been earmarked for improvement work to the Wolvercote, Cutteslowe, Peartree bottleneck, providing real time information boards on the A34 and bus priority lanes at some A34 junctions.

Part of the cash - about £26m - will be used to fund improvements to Oxford Rail Station, including a new platform south of the Botley Road bridge and enhanced services between Oxford and Bicester to cut journey times.

But Mr Robertson said although funding had been earmarked, the Regional Transport Board wanted to see detailed schemes.

He said: "We have the funding, but we have to prove we've got viable projects. We have to work these projects up into proper schemes and part of that will rely on the information we are gathering.

"Oxfordshire faces many challenges over coming years, including the need to accommodate many thousands of new homes.

"In order to ensure this development is planned sensibly, it's crucial we know how people currently use our transport network so we can target improvement in the right areas."

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