Connecting Oxfordshire – OCS response

7 April 2014

Oxford Civic Society welcomes Ian Hudspeth’s analysis that with 85,000 more jobs and 106,000 more homes coming to Oxfordshire by 2031 getting transport strategy right is crucial. We agree that wherever possible jobs and homes should be close together – ideally within walking or cycling distance. Where that is not possible we need to see excellent public transport provided from day 1.

We also welcome the County’s efforts to show leadership and to open up a debate on solutions. However Cllr Hudspeth reminded us that the County’s ability to influence the behaviours of groups such as Network Rail is limited. We are concerned, for example, that in the short term we won’t get a world class rail / bus / bicycle interchange at Oxford Rail Station because Network Rail have no incentive to deliver such. We are concerned that the County Council are ‘behind the curve’ on cycling and bus connectivity.

For the longer term we feel that the challenges Cllr Hudspeth rightly identifies make the case for joined up macro planning of employment, housing and transport. That’s where the Oxford Futures Commission recommended in our report Oxford Futures – Achieving smarter growth in Central Oxfordshire could play a very positive role.

Seductive as the pictures of possible technical solutions may be, we see that the real challenge is getting the key players to work together. We hope very much that the County Council will rise to that challenge.

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