Oslo, Norway are planning on completely banning cars from its city center by the year 2019.
The city will build over 35 miles of bike lanes and invest heavily in public transport to make up for the banning of the 350,000 or more cars that currently exist in the Norwegian capital.
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Oslo’s car ban is the largest of its kind, says Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an organization that helped install New York’s Citi Bikes and advocates for car-free cities.
“The fact that Oslo is moving forward so rapidly is encouraging, and I think it will be inspiring if they are successful,” he tells Tech Insider.
The car ban in Oslo will reduce pollution and make it a safer city for those on foot.
“We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone,” Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in Oslo, tells Reuters.
Madrid set a similar precedent last year, when the city announced an ambitious plan to kick cars out by 2020.
Madrid’s ban, larger than Oslo’s, will cover 500 acres of the city. Other European cities have worked toward similar objectives but not to this scale and speed.
Paris banned cars from its major landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, last month. If commuters in Milan leave their cars at home, the government will reward them with public transit vouchers. Copenhagen introduced pedestrian zones in the 1960s, and car-free zones slowly followed over the last half-century.
Oslo’s auto ban may mark a shift in our thinking around cars, White says. When cities move away from private transportation, they can rededicate that space to public parks, sidewalks, and cafés.