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 (Oxfordshire County Council, 2016). Yet this is only a fraction of the estimated £400 million needed to put the county’s road infrastructure right (Oxford Mail, 2018). Added to this is the 40% growth in population expected by 2040 (Oxfordshire Growth Board, 2017). Without changes, this means a tremendous consumption of the county’s financial resources while continuing to suffer connectivity failure as a result of induced demand (Downs, 1962; Goodwin, 1996; Hills, 1996; Zolnik, 2018).
This failure reflects the limited 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 (Google Maps, no date). 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 (van der Zee, 2016).
Downs, A. (1962) ‘The law of peak-hour expressway congestion’, Traffic Quarterly, 16(3), pp. 393–409. Available at: https://goo.gl/wXLsHC.
Goodwin, P. (1996) ‘Empirical evidence on induced traffic’, Transportation. Springer Nature, 23(1). doi: 10.1007/bf00166218.
Google Maps, (no date) ‘Google Maps transport journey estimate. See https://goo.gl/DVY2iN’.
Hills, P. (1996) ‘What is induced traffic?’, Transportation. Springer Nature, 23(1). doi: 10.1007/bf00166216.
Oxford Mail, (2018) ‘Oxfordshire’s crumbling network needs solution fast warn councillors’, Oxford Mail, 31 March, p. 4. Available at: https://goo.gl/KoDH9u (Accessed: 5 July 2018).
Oxfordshire County Council, (2016) Future Arrangements in Children’s Social Care. Oxfordshire County Council, p. 17. Available at: https://goo.gl/vaVMgy (Accessed: 5 July 2018).
Oxfordshire Growth Board, (2017) Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy. Oxfordshire Growth Board, p. 5. Available at: https://goo.gl/WJ7mYE (Accessed: 5 July 2018).
van der Zee, R. (2016) ‘Could intercity cycle highways revolutionise the daily commute?’, The Guardian, 30 June, p. 1. Available at: https://goo.gl/T8T3xM (Accessed: 5 July 2018).
Zolnik, E. J. (2018) ‘Effects of additional capacity on vehicle kilometers of travel in the U.S.: Evidence from National Household Travel Surveys’, Journal of Transport Geography. Elsevier BV, 66, pp. 1–9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2017.10.020.