In an effort to cut carbon emissions in half, the Scandinavian country recently announced a plan to invest 8 billion Norwegian Kroner (approximately $923 Million) on creating 10 broad, twin-lane, cross-country bike tracks in and near Norway’s nine largest cities. Part of Norway’s commitment to become fully carbon neutral by 2050, these “super cycleways” are expected to allow cyclists to safely ride up to 40 kilometers per hour, inspiring them to make longer commutes on a pollution-free mode of travel. This will also help to alleviate automobile traffic.
— Realtor Joe (@RealtorJOEinSD) March 9, 2016
Norway’s National Transit Plan mandates that 75% of buses, 50% of trucks, and 40% of short-distance ferries must be low emission by 2030. In 2015, 5% of all journeys took place via bike; by 2030, Norway is aiming for an increase of 10 to 20% of all journeys to be made by bike.
“This is a new form of bicycle initiative in Norway, and is an important means of getting more people to choose the bicycle over the car on the journey to work. Bike Express Routes will make electric bicycle to a more appropriate alternative means of transport,” said Terje Moe Gustavsen, director of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Research Shows Electric Bikes Make People Cycle Longer and More Often – Especially Women. A study out of Norway… https://t.co/B2xNEIQ0JG
— Average Joe Cyclist (@AvrgeJoeCyclist) March 1, 2016
Although with the recent announcement, Norway also wants to ensure the safety of their bikers, especially during the long and harsh winters. Fears that the roads would be built on the mountainous country, which is cold and dark much of the year; an expensive infrastructure may not be widely used. North Norwegian politician Kjell-Idar Juvik told VG Nyheter:
“I find striking few measures relevant to North Norway in the plan. Right now in the winter it’s not realistic for people to throw themselves onto bikes. They already have enough trouble getting out and scraping snow off their cars.”
Other opponents want the money to be invested into improving public transport. Bengt Fasteraune, a Norwegian local politician from the Centre Party and mayor of Dovre municipality in Oppland, criticized the move noting that existing intercity rail and motorway projects should be completed first before spending money on the super-highways. Abid Raja, second deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications, said even as “cycle super-highways are the right commitment, it must not be at the expense of other public transport measures and good initiatives in rural areas.”
Norway moves away from investment in oil and gas towards investment in renewables and super- cycle highways https://t.co/tiYdwHUqXo
— Peter Head (@PeterHeadCBE) March 11, 2016
According to CityLab, the government is also aiming to have zero growth in car use in Norway between now and 2030. However, the country has the highest market share in the world for zero-emissions cars, partly induced by far lower taxes for green vehicles. The government believes even zero emissions cars create some levels of commotion, as well as contribute to traffic and pollution. From this stance, taxes on green vehicles will now be raised. The government is also planning to cut down on the use of ferries by building more bridges across Norway’s fjord-packed coastline, reducing journey times.
— GrindTV (@GrindTV) March 8, 2016
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