What traffic filters are and how they will work.
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What are traffic filters?
Traffic filters are intended to reduce traffic levels in Oxford by targeting unnecessary journeys by cars. All other vehicles including taxis, buses, coaches, all vans, mopeds, motorbikes and HGVs can still pass through these traffic filters at all times.
The filters are not physical barriers but are time restrictions on six roads in the city intended to reduce the number of cars in Oxford.
Cars should not drive through the traffic filters without a permit while the traffic filter restriction is in operation. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will monitor and enforce the restrictions.
It will be physically possible to drive through the filters during restricted times without a permit, but you will receive a penalty charge notice (PCN) if you do so.
The traffic filters cover very short lengths of road (just a few metres). Any vehicle can use the road outside the filter at any time without a permit.
Residents in Oxford and some areas just outside the city will be able to apply for a permit allowing them to drive through the traffic filters for up to 100 days each year.
Other Oxfordshire residents will be able to apply for a permit allowing them to drive through the traffic filters for up to 25 days each year.
Read more on our traffic filter fact-check page
Why we're proposing traffic filters
We want to reduce unnecessary journeys by private cars and make walking, cycling, public and shared transport the natural first choice.
This will help us deliver an affordable, sustainable and inclusive transport system that enables the county to thrive while protecting the environment and making Oxfordshire a better place to live for all residents.
Traffic filters are an important way to achieve this in Oxford. The proposed traffic filters will:
- make walking and cycling safer and more attractive.
- make bus journeys quicker and more reliable.
- enable new and improved bus routes.
- support investment in modern buses
- help tackle climate change, reduce local air pollution and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.
The locations of the traffic filters have been chosen to reduce traffic in Oxford. Some of the filters are on roads which currently have relatively few cyclists and buses, but the filters will work together as a system to reduce traffic on roads that do have high volumes of buses and cyclists or where improvements to bus services and cycle routes are planned.
Three of the six traffic filters will be located in the city centre on:
- St Cross Road
- Thames Street
- Hythe Bridge Street
The remaining three filters will be located on:
- St Clement’s Street, east Oxford
- Marston Ferry Road, Marston
- Hollow Way, Cowley
To test the traffic filters and allow people to comment on their impacts before making them permanent, they will be introduced on a trial basis initially.
The trial phase will run for at least six months, allowing data and feedback from the public and stakeholders to be collected. It’s possible to make some changes to the filters in response to monitoring and feedback during the trial.
How they work
Traffic signs will identify the location and operating times of each traffic filter, as well as the main exemptions. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will be installed to record vehicles going through the traffic filters. When the filters are operating, cars without a permit driving through the filters will receive a fine of £70 (reduced to £35 if paid promptly).
All potential offences are carefully vetted by trained personnel and an appeal process is available in case of a dispute. The images captured are used solely for the purposes of the enforcement of traffic offences.
|Road||Restriction days||Restriction times|
|Hythe Bridge Street||Monday to Sunday||7am-7pm|
|St Cross Road||Monday to Sunday||7am-7pm|
|St Clement’s Street||Monday to Sunday||7am-7pm|
|Thames Street||Monday to Sunday||7am-7pm|
|Marston Ferry Road||Monday to Saturday||7-9am and 3-6pm|
|Hollow Way||Monday to Saturday||7-9am and 3-6pm|
The restrictions cover key commuting times when traffic on these routes is particularly heavy.
Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way
If monitoring suggests we should extend the traffic filter operating hours on Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way to 7am to 7pm, this change can be made.
Should we make any changes to the published operating hours for the traffic filters, those changes will be published on this website and updated on signs near the filters ahead of those changes coming into force.
Restrictions and permits
The traffic filter restrictions will only prohibit cars (without a valid permit) during operating hours. Cars are defined as category M1 vehicles - vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and comprising not more than eight seats as well as the driver’s seat.
- Map showing the exact extent of the areas where people can apply for permits to drive a car through the traffic filters
Residents in the Oxford permit area
100 day permits per calendar year per vehicle. Maximum one vehicle per person (must be the registered keeper or owner). Maximum three vehicles per household. Valid for all six traffic filters at any time during that day.
Residents in the Oxfordshire Permit Area
25 day permits per calendar year per vehicle. Maximum one vehicle per person (must be the registered keeper or owner). Maximum two vehicles per household. Valid for all six traffic filters at any time during that day.
Permits for other cars
|Blue Badge holder||Up to a maximum of two nominated vehicles per blue badge holder at any one time.|
|Professional health and care workers||For operational journeys, not commuting|
|Non-professional carers||Anyone with informal caring responsibilities. Exempt from one traffic filter of the applicant’s choosing.|
|Patients receiving frequent hospital treatments||Exempt from one traffic filter of the applicant’s choosing for the duration of the treatment|
|People with short-term mobility problems||Short-term permit only.|
|Car club vehicles||Belonging to a qualifying car club open to the general public.|
The following vehicles will be exempt from the traffic filters and do not need to apply for a permit.
- Private hire vehicles
- Emergency services and qualifying health service vehicles
- Disabled tax-class vehicles
- Cars used as goods vehicles by businesses based in the Oxford permit area
We plan to implement the trial traffic filters under an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) for a minimum of six months before making a decision about whether to make them permanent.
The decision to implement the trial was made by the council’s Cabinet on 29 November 2022 and follows extensive engagement with more than 100 local businesses, organisations and community groups, including bus companies, hospitals, schools and universities. A public survey was open between 5 September and 13 October 2022 and received 4,814 responses.
When will the trial start?
The traffic filters trial is not expected to start until the works to improve Oxford station are completed - check Network Rail’s website for the latest. This is because Botley Road will be closed completely to motor traffic for a number of months so the work to the station can be carried out. It is expected that the station work will be completed in 2024.
- The strategic assessment (pdf format, 2Mb) outlines the expected impacts and benefits of the trial traffic filters and their role in achieving wider objectives and policy outcomes.
- The Transport and traffic forecasting report (pdf format, 1.7Mb) provides details of transport modelling carried out on the trial traffic filters proposal.
- The Local model validation report (pdf format, 4.3Mb) explains how the transport model was developed to predict impacts of transport plans and projects.
- The scheme drawings show the location and signage associated with the trial traffic filters:
- Hollow Way 7am to 7pm (pdf format, 933Kb)
- Hollow Way 7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm (pdf format, 1.2Mb)
- Marston Ferry Road 7am to 7pm (pdf format, 822Kb)
- Marston Ferry Road 7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm (pdf format, 1.6Mb)
- St Clement’s Street 7am to 7pm (pdf format, 650Kb)
- St Cross 7am to 7pm (pdf format, 380Kb)
- Hythe Bridge Street 7am to 7 pm (pdf format, 141Kb)
- Thames Street 7am to 7pm (pdf format, 131Kb)
- Road Safety Audit Stage 1 report (pdf format, 2.2Mb) confirms the outcomes of checking the road safety implications of the trial traffic filters
- The air quality assessment (pdf format, 5.7Mb) provides details of the air quality and carbon emission impacts of the trial traffic filters
- The road collision assessment ( pdf format, 928Kb) provides a summary of the road safety impacts of the trial traffic filters
- The equalities impact assessment report (pdf format, 2Mb) considers the likely impacts of the trial traffic filters on different groups of people including Protected Characteristic Groups
- Habitats Regulations Assessment Stage 1 report confirms the outcomes of screening for likely significant effects of the trial traffic filters on the Oxford Meadow Special Area of Conservation
- Habitats Regulations Assessment Stage 2 report confirms the outcomes of the assessment of likely significant effects of the trial traffic filters on the Oxford Meadow Special Area of Conservation
- Oxford Core Transport Schemes Traffic Filters HRA SIAA for issue to NE report only (pdf format, 671Kb)
- HRA SIAA Appendix A - Proposed Scheme (pdf format, 763Kb)
- HRA SIAA Appendix B - European Sites Within Study Area (pdf format, 832Kb)
- HRA SIAA Appendix C - Affected Road Network (pdf format, 436Kb)
- HRA SIAA Appendix D - Baseline Conditions (pdf format, 1.6Mb)
- HRA SIAA Appendix E - Air Quality Assessment Supporting Information (pdf format, 853Kb)
- Business impact assessment (pdf format, 2.1Mb) provides a qualitative assessment of the potential impacts of the trial traffic filters for different types of business across Oxford