SUSTAINABILITY

Interview with Lars Ove Kvalbein

Mobility Advisor at the Agency for Urban Environment at the City of Bergen

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Mobility hub at Møllendal

IMAGE: Lars Ove Kvalbein

The City of Bergen has something of a unique approach when it comes to mobility in that it is not strictly pursuing a car-free strategy. What are some of the alternative approaches the city

is looking at?

 

In our experience, the term "car-free" sparks quite a lot of unnecessary worries among citizens and retailers. Among city planners, there is a broad consensus that the city needs to "work", and even a so called car-free city area needs to provide for some car access. We have not been able to come up with a better term yet, but what we are pursuing is a "car-light" city with a goal of eliminating almost all on-street parking. To achieve that, we need to provide good alternatives – make the city more walkable and cyclable, and ensure good access to car sharing.

 

Can you please tell us a little more about Bergen's mobility hubs and their objectives?

 

A mobility hub is an installation where several types of sustainable travel options are made available in one place.

 

The core of the service is reserved parking bays for station based car sharing, and other services are added depending on the location. Electric charging, bike sharing, public transport stops and different kinds of bike parking facilities are most common. The goal is to provide people with good, integrated alternatives to owning and using a private car.

 

 

Electric cars powering up at Nordnes

IMAGE: Lars Ove Kvalbein

What in your opinion makes Bergen a leader when it comes to shared mobility?

 

We are at the forefront in Norway in using public road space with newly approved signage and markings to promote car sharing and making the services more visible and accessible for the public. Other cities in Norway are now adopting our model for this. In addition, we are at the forefront in the world in finding ways to make electric cars work well in car sharing. The Mobility Hubs, and also our provision of data and digital infrastructure for mobility services, makes it easier to integrate new and old mobility services for both public and private partners.

 

Bergen is part of the consortium of the EU-funded Interreg North Sea Region project "SHARE-North". What can you tell us about this project and its impact on the shared mobility transport sector?

 

The Share-North Project is absolutely vital for us when it comes to shared mobility. The idea of the mobility hubs came from our partner city Bremen in Germany, and has been further developed by several parties in the project, sharing strategies and practical experiences across European cities along the way. Recently, we hosted a "Mobility hub Academy" for more than 20 Belgian planners, and now more than 50 Belgian towns are planning and building mobility hubs.

 

 

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