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Vision Zero for Oxfordshire

Oxford, Transport — November 2022

The key goal of Vision Zero is "to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and severe injuries, while increasing safety, health, and mobility for all". Vision Zero was originally a Swedish idea, but it has been adopted by the Netherlands and by cities such as London, Oslo, Seattle and Denver — and now by Oxfordshire, along with some other local authorities and regions. more

School Streets schemes in Oxfordshire

Oxford, Transport — November 2022

While the county should continue to support schemes for schools that request them, having that as the only way for schemes to happen will limit the effectiveness of the program. The county should proactively plan School Streets schemes at those locations where they will have the most effect. more

"decide and provide", the traffic filters, and cycling Magdalen Bridge

Oxford, Transport — October 2022

Oxfordshire's cabinet recently adopted a "decide and provide" approach for transport planning, but that doesn't seem to be informing the plans for the traffic filters in the Central Oxfordshire Travel Plan. The St Cross traffic filter and cycling on Magdalen Bridge provides one example of this. more

the Central Oxfordshire Travel Plan: what's missing

Oxford, Transport — October 2022

The Central Oxfordshire Travel Plan (COTP) is a fairly comprehensive plan to make transport in Oxford and its surrounds better and more sustainable. I support the goals of the plan and the actions proposed to achieve those, but feel that some things have been neglected or omitted. (I don't consider the three "core schemes" here, since there are few surprises there and each is going to have its own consultation, but instead focus on the other nineteen actions.) more

higher penalties for parking offences

Oxford, Transport — September 2022

Parking enforcement in Oxford is woefully poor and seems impossible to improve. This creates dangers for people walking and cycling and can impede motor traffic (especially buses). Higher penalties would provide greater deterrent to the most problematic offences, without requiring additional enforcement resources. more

Zero Emission Zones + city centre access charging

Oxford, Transport — September 2022

Zero Emission Zones (ZEZs) such as Oxford's should be reworked with general access restrictions that address all the harms done by motor vehicles, not just tailpipe emissions. In particular, Oxford's fails to address either particulate air pollution or road danger. more

the Longwall-High junction

Oxford, Transport — July 2022

The junction of Longwall St and High St, in Oxford, poses some unusual design challenges. Along with Magdalen Bridge and the Plain roundabout, it is a key bottleneck in Oxford's transport network — this segment is probably the second busiest cycle route in the UK and likely the second busiest bus route. There are huge problems with this junction as it is, but the core schemes in the forthcoming Central Oxfordshire Transport Strategy offer a chance to redesign it.

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people cycling wanting to turn right into Longwall have to wait in a one metre wide lane with motor traffic on both sides

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new Warneford Lane cycle tracks

Oxford, Transport — July 2022

A look at the new Warneford Lane cycle tracks, put in in 4-7 July 2022.

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Kidlington roundabout design failure

Oxford, Transport — July 2022

The plans for redesigning the roundabout south of Kidlington are inconsistent with both the county's headline car-trip reduction targets, its active travel goals, and its Vision Zero commitment.

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there are too many cars in central Amsterdam

Transport, Travel — June 2022

Even just on a ten day visit, one of the most striking things about Amsterdam is that there are too many cars in its inner city. The one-way "cars are guests" streets, with regular speed humps, work well to slow motor traffic, but in many places the network structure only inhibits through traffic on these rather than stopping it. And at a larger scale there are still major through routes within the S100 ring-road. more

traffic filters: Hythe Bridge St + Marston Ferry Rd

Oxford, Transport — May 2022
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How should the planned Oxford traffic filters work: what hours should they operate, what exemptions should there be, and so forth? To understand this, we need to understand their purposes:

  • to allow space and time to be reallocated to make walking and cycling safe and accessible, especially at junctions
  • to stop buses being congested and delayed, to have better and more efficient bus services
  • to free up space (and reduce noise and air pollution) for an improved public realm

But while the goals may be the same, the unique geography of each filter — and the very different roads they are on — means that they may need quite different implementations. This can be illustrated by Hythe Bridge St and Marston Ferry Rd. more

York as a model for central Oxford

Oxford, Transport, Travel — May 2022
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Based on a four day visit to York, I think its city centre should be a model for Oxford's. York has pedestrianised a huge chunk of its centre, and it's really great to walk around. After a bit it just feels entirely normal, just as it does in similarly pedestrianised European cities, and it really shows up just how horrible walking around central Oxford is.

At least during the daytime, outside loading hours, there are no cars at all, moving or parked in the core area of York. This means that one never has to think about traffic at all, or even about getting around parked cars, which makes for a completely different feel to bits of Oxford such as Catte St or Turl St or New Inn Hall St or Merton St or Pembroke St, where anyone walking is likely to encounter at least one moving motor vehicle and many parked ones. more

Connecting Oxford and buses

Oxford, Transport — May 2022

Oxfordshire was recently awarded central government funding, under the ZEBRA program, to electrify Oxford's local bus services. Looking at the full business case for this, two things are clear:

  1. The ZEBRA funding for bus electrification is contingent on the traffic filters in Connecting Oxford.
  2. If we don't get the ZEBRA funding, we're not just going to miss out on electric buses - we're going to be facing cuts to bus services.

Here are some quotes from the business case, with some key bits in bold: more

Worldle, Semantle, Heardle, Nerdle

Children, Life — April 2022

We've settled into a routine with Wordle and its clones, but some of the more radical variants are the most interesting. Our favourites are Worldle, Semantle, Heardle and Nerdle.

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the Plain: simple cycling safety improvements

Oxford, Transport — March 2022

There are some relatively easy changes that would make cycling safer at the Plain — ones that can be implemented without engineering works.

Angle or stagger the give-way line on the Cowley Rd entry, so people on cycles don't have their view of approaching vehicles on the roundabout obscured by motor vehicles on their right. (Compare the give way lines on Iffley and Cowley Rd in the Google satellite image.) By far the largest concentration of reported collisions involve cars or cycles entering the Plain from Cowley Rd.

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cycling safety and the Plain

Oxford, Transport — March 2022
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Two terrible deaths within a month have brought cycling safety to the fore, but the problems are not new and the Plain in particular has been a worry for a long time. Safety was the rationale behind the rebuild of the Plain in 2016 (which made things slightly worse), I used it as an example of junction design that failed to address walking and cycling safety and accessibility, and I tweeted about it just two weeks before the fatality.

Unfortunately there are no easy solutions, at the Plain or elsewhere in Oxford. Indeed I would argue that there are no significant improvements that aren't either very expensive or a long way from being Pareto (making no one worse off): witness the unhappiness about the parking removal in the Quickways and the modal filtering in the low traffic neighbourhoods. more

2022 LTNs (and similar schemes)

Transport — February 2022

This an attempt to list all the low traffic neighbourhoods made permanent, or newly introduced, in 2022. It is largely based on information collected by @iambrianjones (Filter more Streets), so is probably London-centric. Let me know if I'm missing anything. more

making Oxford 20mph

Oxford, Transport — January 2022

Oxfordshire is introducing 20mph on many main roads, on rural roads where they pass through villages and on larger sections of Oxford's main roads. Here I look at what is happening - and should be happening - in Oxford.

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base map from OpenStreet Browser

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reading at 9

Books + Ideas, Children — January 2022

Classics still dominate Helen's reading. Six months ago she read the remaining Anne of Green Gables books and then reread them all. And she's just reread The Lord of the Rings. Other classics include Hugh Lofting's Voyages of Dr Dolittle and The Story of Dr Dolittle (1920), Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods (1932), T.E. White's The Sword in the Stone (1938), Marguerite De Angeli's The Door in the Wall (1949), Tonke Dragt's Letter for the King (1962) and Secrets of the Wild Wood, Astrid Lindgren's Ronia the Robber's Daughter (1981), and Diana Wynne-Jones' Howl's Moving Castle (1986).

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colour cycle lanes rather than bus lanes

Oxford, Transport — January 2022

Oxfordshire is still colouring bus lanes - as this newly surfaced example from just north of Folly Bridge shows - while refusing to paint cycle lanes. This prioritises helping a few inattentive or blind drivers avoid fines over safety for people cycling.

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the "bus gate" approaching St Aldates from Folly Bridge

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