A consultation will be launched on Monday into six new traffic filters which could be introduced in Oxford.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, says that the measures are designed to reduce traffic, make bus journeys faster and make walking and cycling safer.

What are traffic filters and how will they work?

Private cars are not allowed through traffic filters without a permit, while all other vehicles - including buses, coaches, taxis, vans, mopeds and HGVs – have access at all times.

How does a traffic filter stop people from driving through?

They will not be physical road closures. They will be enforced by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. Signs will also be in place.

Any vehicle that goes through but is not exempt will be issued with a penalty notice charge of £70, reducing to £35 for prompt payment.

Permits will be available for blue badge holders, health workers and care workers.

Residents of some areas just outside the city will also be able to apply for a permit to drive through for up to 100 days per year. This equates to an average of two days per week.

Where will they be?

The new traffic filters on St Cross Road, Thames Street, Hythe Bridge Street and St Clements would operate seven days a week from 7am to 7pm. Two more filters on Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way would operate from Monday to Saturday.

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What is the difference between traffic filters and bus gates?

The traffic filters will be on major roads across the city while still allowing access for many road users. Bus gates are designed to remove nearly all traffic except buses, and are not on major traffic routes. Bus gates generally only allow for local buses, taxis and private hire vehicles, and emergency services.

I need to drive for my journey how will I be able to do that?

Some car journeys will need to take a different route, if not exempt, usually using the ring road. This may result in longer journey times, mainly for trips between Oxford’s suburbs and across the city.

The council says people eligible to travel through traffic filters, especially including to and via the city centre, are expected to find journeys faster and more reliable.

The only vehicle access to the Westgate Shopping Centre is along Botley Road, won’t this worsen congestion on that route?

It is estimated that Westgate only accounts for around 6 per cent of the total traffic coming into the city centre. However, the car park regularly gets full, and the queue blocks Oxpens Road and Thames Street, having a knock-on impact along Botley Road and other city centre routes. 

The council says with the traffic filters in place, there should be less traffic using Oxpens Road. In addition, many of those currently arriving to the Westgate by car may choose to use the bus or Park & Ride rather than drive through a less direct route.  Most Westgate customers already choose to use a non-car mode already, it says.

During the trial it will carefully monitor the impact of the filters including changes in traffic levels and queueing along Botley Road.

How do traffic filters fit with low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs)?

The Divinity Road, Southfield Road, Rectory Road and Princes Street parts of the East Oxford LTNs trial would need to remain if the six new traffic filters are introduced – otherwise more traffic would use these residential streets when the St Clements and Hollow Way filters are introduced.

How long does the consultation last?

A consultation on the proposals, which are supported by Oxford City Council, will be launched on Monday next week (September 5) and run for four weeks until October 3.



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