Encourage People to Buy EVs, Ban All Cars from Entering City Centers - Eco-Logic Gone Wrong?

Whoa, easy, no need for that kind of language. Let’s hear what the city hall and all those involved have to say for themselves first.
Oslo 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from Google Maps
The fact that city centers are a crowded place, full of cars standing still in huge traffic jams with their engines running and their tailpipes polluting, is no secret, and clearly something has to be done as people won’t be willingly leave their cars at home or drive around certain areas.

We’ve seen Paris look for desperate measures as the level of air pollution rose to dangerous levels in later years, and similar decisions are being considered in other parts of the world as well. Most people point the finger at the wide use of diesel engines in passenger cars, a type of engine that was predominantly used on commercial vehicles a few decades ago.

But whatever the reason, some municipalities have taken to solving the problem on their own, and since you can’t tell people what type of cars to buy, they’re actually thinking of banning the access for all of them in certain areas of the city.

The first to come up with a rock solid plan in this regard are the local leaders of Oslo, the Norwegian capital. Their plan is to prohibit the access of personal cars in the city center within the next four years, a move they think will benefit everybody, even though there are some voices opposing the idea at the moment.

"We want to have a car-free center," Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in Oslo said, quoted by The Independent. "We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone."

Of course, you can’t just prevent cars from entering a large area and expect people to fend for themselves once inside. The project involves building up to 60 km (roughly 40 miles) of bicycle lanes and also further developing the public transport system.

Why Oslo?

With its 600,000 inhabitants and nearly 350,000 cars, Oslo is actually quite a small city compared to other European capitals. However, its radical decision should not come as a surprise, as Norway is well renowned for its ecological affinities. After all, this is where cars such as the Tesla Model S were the country’s best-sellers throughout certain months. The car sales figures in Norway should make for a very entertaining read.

The thing is, most city dwellers are caught in a vicious circle they are unaware of or choose to ignore. They use their cars because it is more convenient time-wise than the public transport system. What they don’t realize is that the abundance of cars on the road is what’s making the buses and the trams slow and unreliable, and also somewhat unprofitable.

If more people drove from the suburbs, parked their cars somewhere inside the city and used rental bicycles and public transportation, not only would the pollution go down but so would their time spent commuting. And with the increased revenue, the system would offer better service in the future.

What the Oslo city hall is basically doing is cut a few corners and force us into using a public transportation service that’s been enhanced in advance. It’s not the best example of freedom of choice, but Oslo residents are still free to choose to move from the city if they don’t agree with the municipality’s decisions.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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