Oxfordshire’s transport arrangements are strained. The annual budget for maintenance is £15 million. For context, this is double the amount cut from children’s services in 2016, reducing children’s centres from 51 to 8. Yet this is only a fraction of the estimated £400 million needed to put the county’s road infrastructure right. Added to this is the 40% growth in population expected by 2040. Without changes, this means a tremendous consumption of the county’s financial resources while paving over more of Oxfordshire’s green spaces and widening existing roads, while continuing to suffer connectivity failure.
This failure relates to the low efficiency of single-occupant car travel. The 13-mile journey from Witney to Oxford takes an estimated 1 hour and 15 minutes on any weekday morning. By contrast, the ten-mile car journey from Houten to Utrecht (Netherlands) takes an estimated 30 minutes. The reason: appealing alternatives. Every 15 minutes a train takes travelers from Houten Station to Utrecht, with a journey time of 10 minutes. Likewise there is a safe, mostly segregated cycle route connecting the two. Advances in electric bicycles bring such commutes more easily within reach of a wide range of ages and abilities.