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Norway to ride high-speed bike lanes to emissions cuts

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Eight billion kroner will be spent on bicycle expressways. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold/NTB Scanpix
11:41 CET+01:00
Norwegian transport authorities are proposing the addition of new high-speed bike trials in the nation’s nine largest cities.
The development of the so-called bicycle expressways, where cyclists should be able to maintain speeds of 30 to 40 kph, were presented as one of the main initiatives in the National Transport Plan (NTP) unveiled on Monday. 
 
Oslo will get two of the new bicycle expressways while either other cities will get one each. 
 
Terje Moe Gustavsen, the director of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, said that significant investments in bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure will be an important part of keeping personal transport emissions low in Norway’s largest cities. 
 
“The bicycle expressways are stretches that will really have an influence on transportation,” he said. 
 
The new transport plan aims to have bicycling account for between 10 and 20 percent of all daily trips in the nine largest cities. Currently, only Kristiansand comes close to that mark, with eight percent of daily commutes done on two wheels. 
 
The new bicycle expressways will cost eight billion kroner. In addition to the two in the Oslo region, the other areas that will get the new bicycle paths are: Bergen, Trondheim, Nord-Jæren, Nedre Glomma, Buskerudbyen, Grenland, Kristiansand and Tromsø. 
 
The NTP calls for all greenhouse gas emissions to be halved by 2030.
 
The agencies behind the plan say the goal can be met despite rising transport demands. 
 

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“Zero- and low-emissions vehicles need to have advantages that are large enough to ensure a rapid shift. IN plain language, it means that the vast majority of people who buy new personal vehicles in ten years choose zero-emissions models,” Elisabeth Enger of the Norwegian National Rail Administration said. 
 
Norway already has the world’s highest market share for clean vehicles. Almost 26,000 zero emission cars -- all of them electric except for nine hydrogen vehicles -- were registered in Norway last year, accounting for 17.1 percent of all new vehicle registrations. 
 
The agencies hope that the bicycle expressways will help private vehicle ownership plateau in Norway’s largest cities. 

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