Reports 2021/15

Land use and transport in the nine largest urban areas

Indicators for land use development

This report contains selected indicators and statistics that describe the environmental status and development in the nine largest urban regions and five large cities in Norway. These consist of 64 municipalities according to the classification of municipalities before 2020, and 37 municipalities according to the new classification in 2020. They are all participants in urban growth agreements and reward agreements. On 1 January 2020, there were a total of just under 2.7 million inhabitants in the nine largest urban regions, which corresponds to 51 per cent of the population of Norway. The indicators apply to the topics ‘Land use’, ‘Environmentally friendly transport’ and ‘Greenhouse gas emissions from road traffic’.

Land use management:

The total urban area in the nine largest urban regions covered more than 900 km2 in 2020, which is an increase from 2013. The number of inhabitants per km2 of urban area was highest in the Hovedstadsområdet and Tromsø in 2020. The total population density for the nine largest urban regions and for the five largest cities increased from 2013 to 2020. Most new buildings were built within the boundaries of last year’s urban settlements, but the density decreased between 2014 and 2019 in the largest urban regions and cities.

In 2020, newbuilds were located closer to the city centre than existing dwellings. The distance from home to the nearest work cluster, and the proportion of employees working in the largest city centre zone is consistently higher in the larger municipalities. The proportion with safe access to play and recreation areas has in total increased from 2016 to 2018. The total proportion with safe access to walking terrain is overall stable but with some variations among the nine largest urban regions and five cities from 2016 to 2018.

Environmentally friendly transportation:

The proportion of daily journeys using environmentally friendly modes of transportation, such as walking, cycling or public transport, has slightly increased, and constitutes approximately 40 per cent of all transportation in 2018. The length of bicycle paths per 1 000 inhabitants in the nine largest regions has decreased, but there was an increase within the five largest cities. Meanwhile, access to parking at the workplace has been reduced. The proportion with access to public transport seems highest in the most populated municipalities and has increased during the period 2001 to 2018. Car density has increased in the municipalities in the nine largest urban regions but is now less dense in the larger cities. The number of cars passing through tolls is dominated by fossil fuel cars in the four largest urban regions. The use of electric cars increased from 2019 to 2020.

Emission of greenhouse gas from roads:

The total emission of greenhouse gasses from road traffic constitutes 9 800 tonnes CO2-equivalents per 1 000 inhabitants within the nine largest urban regions. Emissions from road traffic fell during the period 2009 to 2019, both in the largest nine urban regions and five largest cities.

Private car use, distributed by type of fuel, showed a reduction in petrol cars and an equivalent increase in diesel cars from 2009 to 2015. This was followed by an increase in electric cars from 2015 to 2019.

Read more about the publication