September 22nd is not only one of our children’s birthday, but it is also World Car Free Day. As normally I’ll be riding my bike to the bus stop both ways, but I encourage you all to chose your bike, public transportation or to simply walk to your destination if you can.
World Carfree Network uses the term “carfree movement” rather broadly, to refer to:
- those promoting alternatives to car dependence and car culture, including alternative modes such as cycling, walking and public transport;
- those promoting carfree lifestyle choices, within either a car-dependent, car-lite* or carfree local context;
- those promoting the building of (usually mixed-use) carfree environments# on either brownfield or greenfield sites (usually sited to ensure easy access to a variety of non-automotive transport modes);
- those promoting carfree days, using the events as tools to bring about long-term on-the-ground change in infrastructure and priorities (example: Bogota); and
- those promoting the transformation of existing villages, towns and cities (or parts of them) into carfree environments.#
* Car-lite – Either a person or place that is not completely carfree, but uses or allows for a variety of alternative transport modes in addition to the car. (Car-lite environments tend to still devote at least half the street space to the automobile, with street widths usually similar to those in car-dependent environments.) The New Urbanists – an influential North American group of architects, developers and planners – are an example of people who promote and build car-lite environments, expressly stating that the automobile must be accommodated.
# Carfree environments – Places that do not accommodate (permit the entry of) automobiles. (An “environment” can be a an entire village, town or city; a portion of a village, town or city; or a place such as a resort, intentional community or university.) Some carfree environments allow motorised vehicles for deliveries and emergency services; other such places use non-motorised alternatives for some or all of these purposes, which is preferable if feasible. Some carfree environments have peripheral parking, and are thus still somewhat car-dependent; therefore solutions should be sought to avoid this. Some people take things a step further and work to encourage local use of local products, thus reducing the dependence of their carfree environment on long-distance goods transport and supporting the local economy over the transnational economy.