The project is currently at feasibility stage. At this early stage of the project a number of surveys have been undertaken and early stakeholder engagement completed to help steer the design and ensure the key benefits of the project are achieved.
Over the last few months, this has included the completion of traffic surveys, whose data will be used to aid traffic modelling. Topographic surveys, which will help inform the development of safe, secure and robust road and pavement designs. Plus utilities surveys, for the detection and mapping of existing underground utilities along the Botley Road corridor.
At present the following are being undertaken:
- Pedestrian and cycling surveys are being completed along the corridor. These will be repeated once the scheme is completed. The audits will allocate a score for before and after the project to help demonstrate the performance improvement along the corridor for the two modes of travel.
- Trail pits will be completed along the corridor as part of the site investigations during November and December 2018. Trial pits are dug before the construction in order to study the composition and structure of the subsurface.
Oxfordshire County Council have engaged with selected stakeholders over recent months to review the Botley Road proposal from a user’s perspective. Including the Oxford Pedestrian Association, Oxfordshire Transport and Access Group (OXTRAG), Cyclox, key bus companies and the Environment Agency.
The following key Councillors were engaged at this early stage as part of this early stakeholder engagement phase: Councillor Pressel, Councillor Louise Upton, Councillor Roberts and Councillor Constance. There will be further opportunities to consult and engage with stakeholders on the project as it progresses into design stages.
The next steps include starting to explore opportunities for the integration of smart technology along the corridor.
A public exhibition is expected to take place in March 2019. The timescale for the public exhibition has slipped by two months as we are testing and carrying out VISSIM modelling work on a large number of options following the initial stakeholder engagement and early contractor involvement. This means that we are spending more time on this stage of the process in order to model the impact of the interventions across the corridors’ transport network.
Why we are doing this project?
Botley Road is Oxford’s slowest radial route which faces daily congestion problems and poor journey experiences for road users. The corridor is a vital public transport link in Oxford as it:
- offers the only east to west route in and out of the city from the west;
- supports a high proportion of cycling; and
- serves a diverse function for buses, both local services and the park and ride, as well as intra-urban services.
Improving public transport
Building upon objectives set out in the Oxford Transport Strategy, a study of Botley Road was completed in 2016 which confirmed, following stakeholder feedback, the value of a high-quality route that prioritised sustainable transport modes to ease urban congestion, reduce journey times and improve journey experience.
The project presents an opportunity to provide a route that prioritises sustainable transport along the corridor between Binsey Lane and the Eynsham Road; specifically, for buses, cyclists and pedestrians. The project aims to:
- Directly reduce bus journey times.
- Ease urban congestion.
- Provide a safer and more attractive route for cyclists and pedestrians.
- Improve journey experience for buses, cyclists and pedestrians, by providing an efficient, safe, and continuous route along, and within, the corridor.
- Encourage greater use of more sustainable modes of transport, ensuring the network is not overburdened, reducing vehicle emissions and improving air quality.
- Unlock economic growth and job creation opportunities by benefiting development sites with improved access and additional capacity.
What we are proposing?
The key changes that will be brought about by this project include:
- Improved infrastructure and transport capacity to support the significant development planned within Central Oxfordshire.
- Bus priority measures to improve bus journey times and reliability along the corridor, in line with the Oxford Transport Strategy aspiration for the Botley Road corridor to become a Rapid Transit Route.
- Major cycle improvements to create a safer and continuous route along the corridor. This includes changes to several junctions along the route, notably restricting access to some side roads, where there has been a high incidence of collisions with cyclists, and additional cycle lanes. This is in line with aspirations for the corridor to become a Cycle Super Route.
- A more consistent and improved footpath, including additional crossings, which will benefit pedestrians.
- Surface repairs and improvements which will improve the condition and ride quality of the road to the benefit of all users.
- A reduced number of private vehicles along the corridor, with more journeys undertaken by public transport, cycle and on foot, improving the air quality along the corridor.
A study was undertaken in March 2016 to consider the feasibility of a range options to help deliver the Oxford Transport Strategy objectives along the corridor. A wide range of key stakeholders were engaged in a workshop to gather feedback as part of the study. This formed the basis of issue identification along the corridor. The study confirmed the value of a high-quality route that prioritised sustainable transport modes. Alternative options were considered but rejected because they either did not deliver strategy objectives or required significant works outside the highway boundary.
Work is currently being undertaken through the feasibility stage of the project to identify a preferred option. After which a public exhibition will take place; it is anticipated this will be in March 2019.