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Trams for Oxford

A workshop, on Thursday March 12th, at UCL’s Cruciform Building, LT2 (near Euston Square Station) will bring together an invited group of practitioners and policy makers to discuss the feasibility of using a new generation of trams to connect the historic centre with new housing and other developments. Short (ten minute) presentations will be followed by questions, to scope out what a feasibility study would examine. A report will be circulated afterwards.

Despite the positive experience of using modern trams to boost the quality of life, accessibility and prosperity of many European cities, little work has been done on their application to historic cities such as Oxford or York that have congested centres and pressures for new housing. In August 2014 URBED won the prestigious 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize for their proposals for Uxcester Garden City. Their study showed how new local infrastructure such as a tram could be funded from the uplift in land values by developing new housing on the edge of Oxford.

The Oxford Futures workshop in November in Oxford brought out the need for radical solutions to cope with a rapidly expanding city, and the example of Oxford’s twin city Grenoble in France to illustrate the potential, and the need for new housing and transport infrastructure to be considered together. At the same time research at UCL, for the Sintropher project on tram trains, is examining how other European cities make projects viable that in the UK are considered unfeasible through different appraisal and funding systems.

Draft programme

  • 2.00 Registration and coffee
  • 2.30 Introductions and opening remarks (Dr Nicholas Falk, founding director URBED)
  • 2.45 What can we learn from Europe about trams in smaller cities? (Dr Chia-Lin Chen and Charles King, UCL, EU Sintropher project)
  • 3.15 Where might a tram fit into Oxford? (Peter Headicar, OBU and Fiona Ferbrache, Keble College, Oxford)
  • Discussion on feasible routes, and tea
  • 4.00 Where will the money come from? Findings from the Oxford garden city feasibility study (Dr Nicholas Falk and Pete Redman, Trade Risks)
  • 4.30 Quantifying costs and benefits – does the current appraisal approach help? (Dr Robin Hickman, UCL, EU Sintropher project
  • 5.00 How could we apply the lessons from Europe? Roger Harrison, Chairman Nottingham Tramlink Ltd and the Light Rapid Transit Forum)
  • Discussion on possible funding and organisational options
  • 5.30 Next steps, and drinks
  • 6.00 close
Do you have questions about Trams for Oxford: A Workshop at UCL? Contact Sintropher

About the author: admin


Oxford based journalist and consultant, who writes about business, especially the global energy business including exploration. Also editor Oxfordprospect.co.uk. Writes about a variety of topics including production, power generation including renewables, innovation, investment, markets, technology, regulation, leadership, policy making and management.


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