Oslo Metropolitan Region comprises the City of Oslo and the county of Akershus. Oslo is Norway’s only metropolis, consisting of a compact urban core sur- rounded by forests, agriculture and coastline. Akershus is the second largest populated county in Norway. The population of the region in 2005 was 1.04 million which rose to 1.14 million in 2011. The city of Oslo has just over half of the region’s population. Population growth in the Oslo region is due to high rates of immigration from within and outside of Norway, combined with a young population with a high birth rate.
Although politically independent from each other, Oslo and Akershus work jointly in many key areas, such as the regional energy and climate programme, industrial and commercial development and transport policy; including, for example, the Oslo toll ring. Oslo and Ak- ershus, along with neighbouring Buskerud, have worked together on climate change mitigation since 1999.
The 2008 Municipal Master Plan for Oslo identified the strengths of the city to be its regional economy and a high quality of life. Weaknesses were identified as Oslo’s peripheral location, the high cost of living and a lack of venture capital1. Oslo and Akershus has put up a joint public transport company, RUTER, who runs both busses, trams and metro. During the first half of 2011, there was a growth in public transport by 7% in Oslo and 12% in Akershus.
The region has a public transport network that includes a six line metro, an eight line commuter railway and a six line tramway. The majority of public transport journeys are by rail, tram or metro2. The region’s bus operating company aims for its fleet to be fossil fuel free by 2020. Road user charging has been in place since 1991 and has provided funds for expansion to
the road and public transport networks. The regional airport, Gardermoen, served 19 million passengers in 2010; 65% of these travelled by public transport (bus or train) to the airport. As the region is located in the periphery of Europe, it is dependent on air transport for accessibility to European markets.
The bulk of employment in Oslo and Akershus is in the service sector. The region is host to internationally competitive businesses including maritime, energy and environment, life science, ICT and culture. Oslo is also home to some of the world’s largest shipping compa- nies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. The region accounts for nearly 50% of national R&D expen- diture. Unemployment in the Oslo metropolitan region was 3% in 2005.
In 2005 the region set a target to reduce GhG emissions by 50% against a 1990 baseline. One of the goals of the 2008 Oslo Municipal Master Plan is to ‘consolidate its position as one of Europe’s most environmentally sustainable capitals’. Oslo City Council has adopted a
10 point plan to reduce emissions, which includes the implementation of energy certification for property transactions, new municipal buildings meeting either PassivHaus or low-energy standards and establishing a network for charging electric vehicles. There is a Climate and Energy Fund to support activities that reduce emissions in municipal buildings. The 22 municipalities in the county of Akershus are developing their own energy and climate action plans.