Published on March 11th, 2016 | by Steve Hanley


Norway To Invest Almost $1 Billion In Bicycle Infrastructure

March 11th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

For a country with only 5,000,000 inhabitants, Norway is proposing to invest an incredible amount of money in upgrading its bicycle commuting infrastructure. As part of a plan announced last week, the country will invest $923 million to create 10 broad, two lane, cross country bicycle highways in and around Norway’s nine largest cities. A key component of the plan is to slash Norway’s transportation emissions by 50%.  According to CityLab, the new bikeways will  link the 9 cities to the outer suburbs, extending the protected bicycle network outward from urban cores through the commuter belt and into the countryside beyond.

Bicycle-i-NorwayThe plan faces some stern opposition. Norway is not exactly balmy most of the year. And it has lots of hills that bicyclists will have to contend with. Ultimately, the Norwegian government hopes to convince as much as 20% of all commuters to bike to work rather than take an automobile. Some think if the plan goes forward, the country will see a surge in the sale of electric bicycles. Overall, Norway would like to have a zero increase in in the number of cars driving on its roads between now and 2030.

The payoff for Norway will be lower carbon emissions leading to higher life expectancy and better health for its citizens. That’s assuming any of them choose to pedal their way through Norway’s dark, semi-frozen winter days on a regular basis. Perhaps Norway will need to adopt a “pay to pedal” program like the one proposed for Milan.

Photo credit: Flickr/Bent Sigmund Olsen via CityLab

Reprinted with permission.

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writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter. "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." Elie Wiesel

  • Freddy D

    This is essentially a “Class 0” bikeway – a bike freeway level infrastructure. giving bikes the same level of travel priority as cars for the first time. Built for cruising at 25 mph, non-stop, without interruptions. If motorists were forced to put up with the stop-and-go, dis-jointed, dis-connected, dangerous infrastructure that cyclists must put up with, they’d revolt. This is cool. (assuming that I understand what this proposal is). Might require a bike vacation to Norway sometime – probably in the summer .

  • Phil

    Ha Ha perhaps with E bikes and more efficient batteries ALL parts of the body can stay warm with heating elements in the clothing powered from the batteries.

    The ice could be an issue. But that could mean norway making the first 2 wheel drive E bikes with ABS and ESP and optional ice studded tyres ? . Would not be very hard to do that overnight really , just adapt the vehicle tech already available.

  • Bob Vittengl

    It’s time that we invest in bike infrastructure in the USA , the benefits greatly out way the costs. Separated bike and walking trails really work , look at Portland and Bend Oregons success 🙂

  • Armchair Hydrogeologist

    If only Los Angeles would do this. There are a lot of places you could bike to far faster at 10-15MPH than you can drive.

    • Freddy D

      YES YES!! LA is one of the biggest lost transportation opportunities on earth! an utter transportation disaster. Combine a great non-stop / uninterrupted bike infrastructure with high-speed urban rail (150 mph rail in the city never been done before, but LA is the place to do it) and traffic solved. And flawless weather, which is great for bikes. If bikes were faster, even Angelinos would use them, and they’d quickly learn to love them.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    Are these going to be enclosed bike tunnels with heating and lighting?

    • Peter Udbjørg

      No. Only segregated from other (vehicular) traffic, hopefully well mantained & cleaned from snow. And without sharp bends & turns, all too common on present bicycle paths (often combined with walkways, thus making them less useable for “transport cyclists” who bike fast (≈ 30–40 km/h)).
      The Norwegian Winter Biker knows how to dress for all sorts of weather (I see them all the time, fighting the elements!). 🙂

      • Ivor O’Connor

        I was hoping for tunnels. Not sure how the tunnels would be constructed but Norway strikes me as a place that could do it.

        • Peter Udbjørg

          Not too bad an idea, plexiglass tunnells for bikes… Drawbacks are maintenance (the spray can idiots would soon have these “decorated”), and in the summer I think these would become greenhouses…
          I say: There is no bad weather, there’s only bad clothing! 😉

          • Ivor O’Connor

            In today’s world where everybody in a football stadium is ID’d automatically via facial recognition software and every inch of the Autobahn is recorded 24×7 you’d think they could put up some inexpensive cameras and keep the hooligan painters in check.

          • Ronald Brakels

            We couldn’t ID everyone in a football stadium using facial recognition software in Australia. The best we could do is have software look for specific individuals that are already in the system, and even then it can’t ID them. It can just flag them as looking like a particular individual and a human will have to make the final identification.

            And since private security at a football stadium looking out for banned individuals typically has access to technology far in advance of anything government agencies have on account of how they can just buy it from the free market, I don’t think anyone could machine identify everyone in a football stadium.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Yes. Probably only a percentage of the people can be identified. I’m guessing more than 50% at almost no cost. However it is one of those improving every day type technologies. Like self-driving cars are improving every day and don’t look anything like they did five years ago.

    • Jamset

      A tunnel for bicycles would be cheaper than a tunnel for trucks.

      No need for heating in a tunnel if there is no wind and rain in the tunnel.

    • Freddy D

      There’s no such thing as foul weather – just inappropriate clothing! Get a michelin man outfit! 🙂

      • Ivor O’Connor

        lol 🙂

    • some wind/solar powered light system could come handy actually

  • Andreas Halse

    1$ billion is proposed government investment. Bike infrastructure is mainly a municipial responsibility in Norway. The city of Oslo alone is planing to investment about the same amount in the same period.

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