ITE Journal - May 2020 - 33

I

n 2015 the City of Oslo, Norway made a commitment to reduce car traffic, to prioritize
the safety of people on foot and bicycles, and the environment, which came after years
of increasing transportation injuries. Unlike in the United States, where transportation
fatalities are often viewed as unavoidable, the government of Norway made a strong

commitment to Vision Zero nationally, and has worked towards this vision for nearly two
decades. Over the last 10 years (2010-2019), Oslo had an average of five to seven traffic fatalities
a year. Some U.S. cities of similar size to Oslo, where the population in 2018 was 693,491, have

In 2015, political climate and public will in the City of Oslo
changed the tone on accepting continued surface transportation
fatalities. The mayor, city council, and transport division staff all
supported a shift in roadway decision-making from car-centric to
people-centric. Reductions in serious injury and fatal crashes in
Oslo's downward trend shift around 2015 coincided with several
important changes made that year: 
ƒ	 The city government set a goal to reduce car traffic by
one-third by 2030, in effect doing away with the regime of
"predict and provide," meaning that road safety measures
could largely be implemented without traffic studies even if
they were believed to cause congestion or slow down traffic. 
ƒ	 The authority to designate bus lanes, bike lanes, one way
traffic and close streets to traffic was transferred from the
police to the city government, allowing swift transformation of parking lanes to bike lanes and closure of cut
through streets. 
ƒ	 The city implemented a bicycle strategy, with an aim to
increase the bicycle mode to 25 percent by 2025. 
ƒ	 The city launched a smart phone app for children in school,
where they can report traffic hazards and request road safety
measures directly to the road authority. It is used by children
at 98 schools (more than half of all schools in the city), and
has gathered more than 60,000 reports from children so far. 
ƒ	 Oslo received attention in 2015 when it announced that it
would make the city center car-free by 2019. In the end, the
project has led to a removal of all regular street parking in the
city center, and the center has been closed to through traffic. 
Oslo also relies on national road safety efforts, especially when
it comes to vehicle standards, driver education, and enforcement
of road rules. Vision Zero was adopted in Norway in 2002, and is
currently one of the safest countries for road users in the world.

City of Oslo, Norway

more than double the traffic fatalities in a given year.1

Figure 1. The City Ring Road used to have four lanes for cars. It
was upgraded after five fatal crashes and 13 serious injuries in
the 10 years from 2008 to 2017. There has only been one serious
injury since the upgrade. It now has a raised, curb-separated bike
lane; bus lanes; and just one lane for cars in each direction. Images
show before and after of pedestrian and bicycle improvements to
City Ring Road.
w w w .i t e.or g

May 2020

33


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ITE Journal - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - May 2020

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