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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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OUH responds to 'Connecting Oxford' proposals to reduce traffic congestion

05/11/2019
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Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council's 'Connecting Oxford' proposals to reduce congestion and improve journey times into and around Oxford - but highlighted issues to be addressed prior to formal consultation.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council carried out an engagement survey from 18 September to 20 October 2019 on proposals including:

  • new bus routes connecting areas like Summertown, Headington and Cowley to Witney, Kidlington and Abingdon
  • traffic restrictions on main routes into and around the city to improve bus journey times
  • better provision for cyclists and pedestrians.

The councils propose paying for the 'Connecting Oxford' scheme through a 'levy' on workplace parking space - which would mean in effect charging employers like OUH a fee for every staff parking space.

The survey responses will be considered by the Cabinets of both Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council in January 2019 - and they will decide whether and how to go ahead.

Jason Dorsett, Chief Finance Officer and Executive lead for travel and transport at OUH, says: "As we are the largest single employer which would be affected if the councils' proposals were implemented, we submitted a detailed response before the survey closed on 20 October.

"Given the short period allowed for responses to the survey, we were not able to engage with staff more widely but the Trust Board is committed to doing so if the councils decide to take forward the proposals in January."

Car parking and traffic congestion around our hospital sites are some of the most significant issues facing our patients and our staff and so the Trust welcomes anything that results in a better experience of being treated at or working in our hospitals.

Jason Dorsett says: "We welcome the councils' joint efforts to tackle the chronic and worsening traffic congestion in Oxford which affects air quality, our patients and staff, and contributes to unsustainable CO2 emissions.

"We agree that doing nothing is not an option and that the 'Connecting Oxford' proposals may represent a positive way forward.

"However, in our response to the initial proposals, we have stressed that we need to see much more detail as to how the councils will ensure that our staff using public transport will benefit from shorter journey times, no increase in travel costs, and bus timetables that are more frequent than at present and that are aligned to their shift patterns.

"We also believe that there will remain a significant number of staff who will need to drive to work, for example due to caring responsibilities which require complex journeys or shift patterns which mean public transport is not a viable option."

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