In early December, the County of Oxfordshire, in England, voted to begin intensely filtering traffic in certain parts of Oxford between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. This is slated to begin sometime in 2023, upon completion of some existing transportation projects. Right now, the local government says that there will be a six-month trial of using the filter system, and at the end of the trial period, there will be a vote as to whether or not it should be continued.
Six portions of Oxford will be restricted from private vehicles during this time period. Residents can travel freely in their own areas. However, attempting to enter a different restricted area using a private vehicle will require a permit. Violators will be subject to fines of £70 (about $85).
How will this be enforced?
Contrary to some internet speculation, there are no plans to erect physical barriers. People will still be allowed to walk, bike, or take public transportation wherever they want. Vehicle usage will be monitored with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, the same technology that has been around for more than 20 years to collect money remotely on toll roads. The ANPR cameras will also enable the county to issue permits to private drivers to make a limited amount of trips within the city within the restricted time frame.
Critics all over the world, including Australia Sky News host Rowan Dean insist that this is a gross violation of freedom of movement, and will lead us down the slope to a medieval world with an autonomous nobility and a peasantry tied to the land.
Supporters reply that this is simply an attempt to remedy Oxford’s notoriously horrible traffic. What are we supposed to think? What’s actually going on?