Increased funding for operations and investments is one important prerequisite, but it is just as important that the money is spent in the right way. Land use development, measures giving priority access to public transport, to minimize delays and ensure punctual, reliable and swift travel, traffic regulating measures, and infrastructure developments must be seen in context. Service improvements alone are not enough to reach the goal.
Public transport oriented urban and regional development
The expected population growth in the capital region must take place in areas that can easily be served by public transport, cycling and walking. The growth entails a densification in Oslo, at transport hubs in nearby municipalities, and in the prioritised regional cities in Akershus. Such a development will first and foremost reduce the need for motorised transport, as more services will be within cycling and walking distance. Densification also improves the market potential for a good public transport service and makes public transport attractive to more people.
Facilitating walking and cycling
Walking and cycling must absorb a significant part of the growth, and investments must therefore be made in safe and efficient walking and cycling paths. Investment needs in this area have not been assessed and are not discussed further in this document.
Enhanced priority for public transport at street level
A prerequisite for making public transport competitive is that the service is stable and predictable and the overall journey time is not significantly longer than journeys by car. Measures giving priority access to minimize delays and ensure faster travel on the main roads towards Oslo, to the regional cities in Akershus, and to public transport hubs, as well as a more predictable journey time through the city centre of Oslo, are generally very profitable and have a great impact.
The right construction projects in the right order
The construction of infrastructure is never a goal in itself. Infrastructure is a prerequisite for realising the desired public transport, or mobility service. Service development should be guided by market assessments and customer needs. When prioritising projects, projects that provide opportunities for service improvement where demand is highest – and that therefore have significant socio-economic benefits – should be implemented first. Maintenance of existing infrastructure is generally highly beneficial and must therefore be prioritised.
Measures to regulate car use
A report Urbanet Analyse prepared for the municipal sector’s organisation KS, shows that it is very costly for the city regions to achieve the zero-growth target for car use by only expanding the public transport service. A transport policy that regulates car use will reduce the need for funding significantly, and public transport oriented land use planning will have the same effect. This shows that both incentives and restrictive measures are needed to reach our goal.
By implementing measures that regulate car use, the goal of absorbing growth through public transport, cycling and walking can be achieved at a much lower cost than without such measures. Economic incentives such as road use and congestion charges, as well as other measures such as parking availability, are of great significance for our goal achievement and these work in various ways towards the same goal. Economic measures lead to both reduced car traffic and financing for better public transport. Less street parking will both increase the competitiveness of public transport and contribute to better accessibility and reduce delays. Dynamic signage must be used to safeguard the prioritisation of public transport.
Goal-oriented management and predictable financing
About 16 billion kroner is spent annually on public transport in the capital region. Responsibility is split between sectors and public management levels, making holistic prioritisations challenging. The division of responsibility also presents challenges in terms of the management of public transport. The responsibilities of the administration companies must follow natural markets in the regions, regardless of modes of transport or county boundaries.