Traffic problems in Aylesbury are no worse than many other towns and building a bypass would not improve the situation, transport chiefs have claimed.
Transport for Bucks officials said only 10 to 15% of vehicles in Aylesbury are passing through, with the remainder driving around within the town.
Project manager Ian McGowan said if people used an alternative means of transport once a week it would make an ‘enormous’ difference to congestion levels.
Meanwhile, network resilience manager Anne James said increased traffic in the town over the last couple of weeks is down to an annual cycle and not new school bus charges.
Controversial new charges mean pupils who do not attend their nearest eligible school have to pay a £76 fee for a bus service. It has been suggested this has led to more parents driving their children to school, but Ms James said: “We are not seeing anything abnormal this year over previous years.”
She said September is the worst month, with many young children starting at a new school.
She said: “Because it’s their first term parents are taking more care and driving them to school. As you move through the year parents get more confident, children travel on their own and it drops off. And then it shoots back up again. It’s just an annual thing that we are always going to get.”
Mr McGowan and Ms James said even with a blank cheque their priorities would be to encourage people to leave their cars at home and improve public transport, not build more roads or a bypass.
Mr McGowan added: “Is widening the M25 a good idea? It will just fill up. The same thing would happen with a bypass, more people would drive.
“If everybody did something different once a week that’s a 20% difference. Think of the difference that 20% can make.”
Ms James dismissed the idea of a park and ride system, saying there would not be the uptake, while Mr McGowan allayed fears planned housing developments would not provide sufficient infrastructure, saying: “All new developments have to have appropriate travel plans.”
Ms James said the county council’s Urban Traffic Management and Control system, which recognises when queues are long and operates traffic lights appropriately, had been ‘quite effective’ in easing congestion issues around Aylesbury, and Mr McGowan said there is information on the council’s website to help people plan their journey.