In the long term – towards 2060 – one important choice will be whether urban development should still take place as close to Oslo as possible, or whether a greater share of the growth should take place in other cities in Eastern Norway. The development of the railway makes it possible for more people to commute over relatively long distances. According to the plan, Hamar, Tønsberg and Fredrikstad should all be about one hour away from Oslo by train in 2024. An alternative to such a development may be to facilitate greater growth more centrally in the Oslo area. In particular, there is potential for public transport oriented development along existing and improved infrastructure in the urban corridor and the regional cities in Akershus.
Nearly 60 per cent of train journeys in Norway take place within Oslo and AkershusThe development of the intercity segments in Eastern Norway does not address the need for sustainable mobility solutions in the Oslo area. Higher population growth means that transport demand will increase more, relatively speaking, in Oslo and nearby municipalities than in the rest of Eastern Norway. Ruter therefore wants to emphasise the significance of strengthening the railway where it has its biggest advantages and where demand for train journeys is the greatest. Nearly 60 per cent of train journeys in Norway take place within Oslo and Akershus. The Intercity trains in Eastern Norway represent only about 10-15 per cent of total train journeys in Norway. A large share of travellers on Intercity trains are travelling locally in Oslo and Akershus. As the largest traffic streams go – and will go – between the centre of Oslo and the outer neighbourhoods and neighbouring municipalities, the development of the train service on the old double tracks and north-south through the centre of Oslo should be prioritised ahead of further development of more peripheral railway segments.
This will in turn provide an increased basis for densification and urban development in these areas, and it is in line with the principles for a coordinated land use and transport planning.
A development that includes strong population growth centrally in the regional cities in Akershus and along transport hubs and important public transport axes in the urban corridor, provides a good market potential for further improvement of the public transport service. A more scattered development, for example in cities farther away from Oslo, does not provide the same basis for public transport. If conditions promoting a larger share of the population growth in Eastern Norway to take place farther away from Oslo, it will be more difficult to reach the goal of meeting growth in personal transport demand by public transport, cycling and walking. Ruter recommends that the planning processes organised by the Oslo region and the Planning collaboration for Oslo and Akershus be considered continued in a joint process that is more long term and applies to the entire functional capital region. At minimum, a 2060 outlook should be adopted.