Celebrate World Carfree Day!

Empty roads can only mean one thing: Happy World Carfree Day! Photo by Luis Argerich.

Every September 22 is World Carfree Day, a global, annual celebration of cities and public life, free from the noise, stress and pollution produced by cars. It is a chance for the world to liberate itself from the car-dominated society to which it has grown accustomed. By choosing other modes of travel, like bicycling, public transit and walking, entire communities can become part of this special day.

Although World Carfree Day is only a single day out of the year, the organizers and enthusiasts of the day hope that the celebrations will leave a lasting effect. “But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to ‘normal’ life,” the World Carfree Network’s website explains. “When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.”

Celebrations From Here to There

Thousands have pledged to find an alternative to traveling by car in Washington, D.C. To support these individual efforts, city officials are providing free shuttle rides, giveaways and prize drawings to all who participate. As a combined effort, state officials in Virginia are celebrating the fourth annual “Try Transit Week” this week. Learn about local efforts here and here.

City officials all around Brazil are using the momentum from World Carfree Day to educate locals on the importance of sustainable mobility through major cultural events. Cities in Brazil are also announcing the opening of new bike lanes, as well as organizing group bike rides. Read more about World Carfree Day celebrations in Brazil on our Portuguese-language sister blog, TheCityFix Brasil.

In Beijing, in the northern part of the city, the municipal government banned cars from entering the streets in celebration of World Carfree Day. City officials also added 300 bus shuttles to the city’s transit network to accommodate the traffic needs of citizens. There are five million cars registered in Beijing. The city has been struggling to deal with the traffic challenges posed by such a large demand for motorization. Taking part in today’s celebrations is a welcome step in acknowledging the challenges of motorization and to educating locals on more sustainable modes of transport.

In addition to celebrating World Carfree Day today, Europe has been hosting European Mobility Week, an awareness-raising campaign to educate citizens on the use of public transport, cycling and walking. The week’s events also work to persuade European cities to promote sustainable modes of transport and invest in necessary infrastructure in support of healthy, active and happy communities. Learn more about Europe’s efforts to popularize sustainable transport here.

Check out the wiki page for World Carfree Day to find registered events.

Did you celebrate World Carfree Day today? Do you know of any interesting events taking place? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Photo by Fabio Hofnik.

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