While at the beginning of the 2000s traffic jams and cars still dominated the cityscape, a lot has changed today. Big winners are not only the inhabitants, who can enjoy clean air and a wide range of public transport. Stockholm also demonstrates how to protect the environment through a modern and diverse transport concept and at the same time improve the quality of life of the inhabitants.
1. A break with the good will of the population
Nearly 900,000 people live in Stockholm, including the surrounding area, the figure is as high as two million. Half a million Stockholmers are commuters who just a few years ago besieged the streets with cars. In order to reduce traffic jams in the city, the government took radical measures and introduced a traffic tax, the Trängselskatt ("scramble tax"), on a trial basis at the beginning of 2006. It varies according to the time of day or day of the week and is due on entering the city. Meanwhile, the money raised was used to expand the public transport infrastructure and co-financed the sustainable transport development concept.
2. Stockholm stays fit - and gets on the bike
Initially, the approval of the population was only 25 percent, but almost overnight 40 percent of road traffic disappeared due to the traffic tax. A few months later there was a referendum, a clear majority in favour of the tax. The improvement in quality of life was immediately noticeable to the Stockholm people, and the roads became more attractive again for environmentally friendly alternatives. In recent years, the public transport and bicycle network has been expanded by over 50 percent. Numerous buses, a huge underground and suburban railway system and above all the so-called Velo-Route characterise the cityscape today.
3. Train, bus or ferry: it's all about variety
Stockholm is characterised by a special topographical location. The city is spread over 14 islands, over which a diverse network of public transport is spun. Approximately 800,000 people use the public transport network every day. Trains and subways also extend over the suburbs, the red bus lines run through the city centre, blue buses are larger, like the subway, run rather longer distances between the stops, and connect the city with the suburbs and nearby communities. The waterway is particularly popular with commuters and an important part of the future strategy. Numerous ferry lines shorten the distances between the 14 islands enormously and additionally relieve the roads.
4. The underground: cost-effective, extensive and full of art
If you are not travelling through the city by bus or ferry, you can take the subway. It is so popular not only because of its seven lines and because of 110 stops in Stockholm and the suburbs. The inexpensive train ticket, which has only been available electronically since 2013, is also an entrance ticket to a wide variety of art: at over 90 stations, elaborate decorations, wall reliefs made of antique tiles or red illuminated ceilings await curious glances. For example, the Solna Centrum stop on the popular blue line is adorned by a kilometre-long pine forest. For the price of an underground ticket, there are also guided tours over four to five stations with an expert, which are not only popular with tourists.
5. Green Alternative - Electric mobility is the building block of the future
The taxi is not so popular in Stockholm, because it is very expensive compared to the numerous alternatives. It is usually used when you have to cover longer distances at night, as there are no longer any public transport services. But here too there is a lot of work going on in the future: In cooperation with the energy provider E.ON, a joint concept for strengthening electric mobility was developed. Taxi Stockholm's fleet is continuously being converted to electric cars. Around 30 electric taxis are already on the roads of Stockholm, and the electricity is drawn from renewable energies. The cooperation is intended to be a blueprint for companies that want to reduce costs and offer their customers innovative and environmentally friendly solutions at the same time. Above all, it would be an important contribution to climate protection. Another example is the Swedish Electromobility Centre - a competence centre for the promotion of electric mobility in Sweden, which is also a partner of the E-Mobility Power System Integration Symposium 2018 in Stockholm. Overall, the Swedish capital is pursuing the ambitious goal of becoming one of the world's leading cities for clean vehicles by 2030.