One City's Brilliantly Simple Plan to Get Rid of Cars by 2019

In 2015, the city of Oslo, Norway gave itself an ambitious goal: create a car-free city center by within four years. Set to equally inspirational music, a new video video from the excellent StreetFilms production team shows us just how the city is working to make this goal a reality.

Interviews with the mayor, city planners, and enthusiastic citizens give insight into how the city is working to reach its impressive goal. We also get a cool glimpse into how city-wide construction is ripping up roads to make way for wider bike lanes and pedestrian walkways in this future-minded city.

Getting Oslo car-free necessitates a multi-pronged approach. By the end of 2017, Oslo intends to remove all on-street parking in its downtown to facilitate more room for cyclists and pedestrians.

“We decided that we’re going to make it difficult to drive here,” says Liv Jorun Andenes of the Oslo Agency of Cycling, about one of the city’s main shopping areas, filled with stores that need to receive deliveries, requiring at least some need for cars. “There’s not going to be [a lot of space] to park, but it’s going to be accessible for cars.”

Oslo hasn’t had a reputation as a cyclist’s city, which it’s trying to change.

“Oslo is not known as a bike-friendly city, but to go out and do a statement on this, like ‘We’re going to do this.’ — it’s really great,” says Mari Oshaug, the editor of Bikevibe, in the video. Even though winters are long and cold in Norway, the city reports an uptick in “winter biking” and of course, cleaner air.

Public transport is also getting a facelift to encourage ridership. City center buses are being outfitted with four doors, to make entering and exiting as efficient as possible. “If it takes too long at each stop, the journey for me and you is going to take too long, and then we’re not going take the bus, we’re going to take a car,” says Frode Hvattum, head of the public transit authority Ruter.

There’s also a very simple-looking app for purchasing metro passes that can be quickly flashed at drivers; another way Oslo is intending to speed up the public transportation experience. “20 people getting on board a bus takes maybe a minute,” says Oslo resident Michael Gudmason.

The city’s bike-share system has also been made as ubiquitous as possible. A recent revamp — which includes lighter bikes and more racks throughout Oslo — saw over one million uses of the bike-share system in the first four months alone.

You can watch the video below: