20.10.2015Oslo plans blanket car ban
Oslo plans to ban cars from its city centre by 2019 in a move to help reduce pollution. The Norwegian city's newly elected council made the announcement yesterday (Monday 19th October), in what will be the first permanent ban of its kind for a European capital.
Only the city centre rather than outlying areas will be made car-free and the ban will affect private owners. Buses and trams will still have access, while the project will create allowances for those carrying disabled passengers, and for delivery vehicles.
There will be huge investment in public transport services for the area, which already has buses, trams and a metro to serve the city centre. More than 60 km (37 miles) of cycle lanes will also be created in the next four years as part of the plans.
The ban is another step forward from various schemes that have been trialled or are being implemented in other European capitals. Paris has recently banned cars from its streets because of high levels of pollution and congestion, while London will implement an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2020. This will cover the same area as the current congestion charging zone and will restrict access to all vehicles that don't meet exhaust emissions standards.
Unlike London though, Oslo will be banning all cars from a central area, rather than those that don't have low emissions levels. London's plan is to promote the use of plug-in electric models while Oslo not only aims to tackle pollution but also congestion. That said, Oslo only has around ten per cent of London's population so is in a better position to place a ban on traffic entering the city centre.
It seems a pity that the ban will not allow zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles to enter the city centre but, considering Norway has the highest uptake of plug-in vehicles in the world, perhaps it would not tackle congestion to a large enough degree.