Kristiansand Puts Brakes on Car Traffic

Stikkord: Areal og transport, Kollektivtransport, Bilbruk, Kristiansand

More public-transport lanes and a congestion charge are going to cut queues in Kristiansand. The municipality will be the first in Norway to introduce a congestion charge or measures with similar effects.

More public-transport lanes and a congestion charge are going to cut queues in Kristiansand. The municipality will be the first in Norway to introduce a congestion charge or measures with similar effects.

Kristiansand City Council and Vest-Agder County Administration decided right before Christmas in 2008 to further clarification of the congestion charge and measures with similar effect. This means that traffic restrictions will be introduced from 2011.

This decision is historic in Norway, and Kristiansand can be the first municipality that introduces a congestion charge.

Reduces Traffic

The purpose of a congestion charge is to reduce traffic in the rush hour period. Reduction of queues reduces travelling time, and the city centre will be more accessible to everyone. Public transport will move much easier, and become a real alternative for travellers.

Better Public Transport

An important point concerning the congestion charge is that it will primarily finance the development of public transport. Consequently, the bus will be even more popular as an alternative to the car, and reduce the number of cars.

In 2008 Urbanet Analyse (Urbanet Analysis) made a report on what effect a congestion charge would have. The conclusion was that the profits would be about NOK 50 million a year, and a 10% car traffic reduction in the morning rush hour.

6 km Public Transport Lanes

The growth in car traffic in Kristiansand has been about 3 per cent the last five years. This is due to a large increase in population and in peoples spending power.

The result is longer queues in the rush hour, and long travelling times for both cars and public transport. The buses travel in the same lanes as cars, and there has been no increase in the number of bus travels.

To reverse this development both politicians and administrators agree on an expansion of E39 west of the city and on Vågsbygdveien (Vågsbygd Road). Queues are substantial on both these main roads in the rush hour.

There are plans to build 6,1 km of public transport lanes during the next four years, costing about NOK 120 million. With all the financing the lanes can be finished in 2012. These public transport lanes will be financed through two sources:

*Communication Package 1 (agreed road toll)

*Rewards from the Ministry of Transport and Communication

The work on the first of the public transport lanes (Kartheikrysset) started in January 2009. The project is fully financed by Communication Package 1, but several of these lines are dependent of funding from the Reward Agreement. The Kristiansand region has applied for about NOK 60 million in award funding for the building of this public transport lane during 2009–2012. When these ambitious plans can be put into action depends on when the sufficient funds will be released.