- The transport network across Oxfordshire is critical for residents to be able to access services, facilities and employment, as well as being needed for delivery of freight and goods. However, there are continued pressures on the use of this network associated with travel demand that needs to be managed and leads to wider impacts. This includes environmental impacts associated with use of vehicles including air quality and carbon emissions.
- With planned new development, the demand for travel is expected to increase and it is therefore important that this is managed, and plans are put in place to both support sustainable transport choices and reduce the need to travel where possible. In addition, the wider objectives and targets on climate action mean that there will be a need to ensure the Oxfordshire Plan supports a move towards a transport network across Oxfordshire and beyond that significantly reduces carbon emissions over the next few years. In practice, this will mean significant enhancement to bus and rail services, and a focus on delivering comprehensive active travel networks that enable people to choose walking and cycling for more local journeys, securing health gains as well as supporting the tackling of climate change.
- The Oxfordshire Plan also needs to take account of and support wider infrastructure and transport strategy development. It will be particularly important that the Oxfordshire Plan complements and supports the new Oxfordshire Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP), but also in a wider context aligns with other cross-boundary strategies including the England's Economic Heartland Transport Strategy, and guidance and strategy being developed at a national level as part of the de-carbonisation agenda. Major planned strategic schemes such as East West Rail will also significantly impact on the transport choices available in Oxfordshire and more widely across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. The Oxfordshire Plan can support and complement such plans to transform sustainable travel options.
- It is also important that long-term spatial planning recognises that the way people live their lives is increasingly influenced by changes brought about by technology and innovation. For example, the availability of high quality fixed and mobile digital connectivity can significantly impact on the need to travel, with trends such as flexible and home working dependant on its continued provision. The take up of lower carbon vehicles, particularly Electric Vehicles, will also need supporting, and developments should be designed to provide for these.
- The management and movement of freight and goods is also changing, influenced by trends such as the continued increase in internet-based shopping, and the uptake of freight by rail. The Oxfordshire Plan can support the development of a more sustainable freight management system.
Theme Four – Meets the following Objectives of the Oxfordshire Plan
No 1. To demonstrate leadership in addressing the climate emergency by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
No 4. To improve health and wellbeing by enabling independence, encouraging active and healthy lifestyles, facilitating social interaction and creating inclusive and safe communities.
No 9. To deliver high quality, innovatively designed development that ensures efficient use of land and resources.
No 10. To reduce the need to travel and to support people in making sustainable transport choices by providing inclusive, integrated, safe and convenient pedestrian, cycle and public transport infrastructure linking communities.
No 11. To ensure that communities are digitally connected and that innovative technologies are supported.
Policy Option 17: Towards a Net Zero Transport Network