Why Oslo Says Banning Cars by 2019 Will Be a Big Win

The city will build 37 miles of bike paths before the ban is complete.

Why Oslo Says Banning Cars by 2019 Will Be a Big Win


Future population booms are set to crowd our streets, especially in the city. It's predicted around 66 percent of the world's population will be living in cities in 2050 — an increase of 12 percentage points. Urban planners face quite a few decisions when it comes to designing the infrastructure of these cityscapes to support such a mass of people.

Major car mecca Los Angeles is doubling-down on its bus and bike infrastructure, but one European city is going all-in. The Norwegian city of Oslo plans to ban all cars by 2019.

This map from NRK shows the proposed car-free zone:

Before the ban takes place, the council explained its plans to build 37 miles of bicycle lanes. Buses, trams, and delivery vehicles will still be allowed within the city limits, however, and arrangements will be made to include disabled commuters and residents.

"We want to have a car-free center," Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in Oslo, said to reporters.

"We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone."

Oslo is setting an example for the entire world for what a car-less city might look like. The change could be a major boost for residents in a multitude of ways. A study out of the Lund University did a cost-benefit analysis for Copenhagen, Denmark, to determine the possible societal, environmental, and personal costs of increasing the city's bicycle infrastructure.

Its analysis indicated that “investments in cycling infrastructure and bike-friendly policies are economically sustainable and give high returns."

If Oslo were to also invest in bike-share programs, it may even increase property values, as researchers at McGill University found happened in local Quebec neighborhoods.

There's a lot of good bicycling can do for a city (so long as they give it the proper support), and Oslo is setting the stage. The city has around 600,000 inhabitants and about 350,000 cars, so it's uncertain how other, larger cities would negotiate similar changes as a way to reduce air pollution. Putting limits on emissions might be a more plausible solution. However, there's no reason why smaller cities shouldn't follow Oslo's example.

***

NORWAY - AUGUST 08: Shoppers jostle in the heart of Norway's capital, Oslo. (Photo by Andrew H. Brown/National Geographic/Getty Images)

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Photo Credit: DANIEL SANNUM LAUTEN / Stringer/ Getty

How New York's largest hospital system is predicting COVID-19 spikes

Northwell Health is using insights from website traffic to forecast COVID-19 hospitalizations two weeks in the future.

Credit: Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The machine-learning algorithm works by analyzing the online behavior of visitors to the Northwell Health website and comparing that data to future COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • The tool, which uses anonymized data, has so far predicted hospitalizations with an accuracy rate of 80 percent.
  • Machine-learning tools are helping health-care professionals worldwide better constrain and treat COVID-19.
Keep reading Show less

Listen: Scientists re-create voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy

Scientists used CT scanning and 3D-printing technology to re-create the voice of Nesyamun, an ancient Egyptian priest.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists printed a 3D replica of the vocal tract of Nesyamun, an Egyptian priest whose mummified corpse has been on display in the UK for two centuries.
  • With the help of an electronic device, the reproduced voice is able to "speak" a vowel noise.
  • The team behind the "Voices of the Past" project suggest reproducing ancient voices could make museum experiences more dynamic.
Keep reading Show less

Dark matter axions possibly found near Magnificent 7 neutron stars

A new study proposes mysterious axions may be found in X-rays coming from a cluster of neutron stars.

A rendering of the XMM-Newton (X-ray multi-mirror mission) space telescope.

Credit: D. Ducros; ESA/XMM-Newton, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
Surprising Science
  • A study led by Berkeley Lab suggests axions may be present near neutron stars known as the Magnificent Seven.
  • The axions, theorized fundamental particles, could be found in the high-energy X-rays emitted from the stars.
  • Axions have yet to be observed directly and may be responsible for the elusive dark matter.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Put on a happy face? “Deep acting” associated with improved work life

    New research suggests you can't fake your emotional state to improve your work life — you have to feel it.

    Credit: Columbia Pictures
    Personal Growth
  • Deep acting is the work strategy of regulating your emotions to match a desired state.
  • New research suggests that deep acting reduces fatigue, improves trust, and advances goal progress over other regulation strategies.
  • Further research suggests learning to attune our emotions for deep acting is a beneficial work-life strategy.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Surprising Science

    World's oldest work of art found in a hidden Indonesian valley

    Archaeologists discover a cave painting of a wild pig that is now the world's oldest dated work of representational art.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast