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FriSep 22

World Car-Free Day – September 22, 2023

World Car Free Day is celebrated on September 22. It is a worldwide initiative to encourage motorists to take a break from driving and explore alternatives. So if you want to be more environmentally friendly, take part in World Car-Free Day. Sure, giving up your vehicle may not be the most convenient way to go car-free, but it is the best way to stop gas-guzzling for even one day. Is it possible to go for an entire day without needing a car? Yes! It can be done, and World Car-Free Day wants to prove it.

History of World Car-Free Day

Although cars are the most popular and convenient means of transport in most major cities, they have considerable drawbacks. People have protested against the use of cars for decades for several reasons. Apart from the noise and the pollution, they are responsible for a rise in accidental deaths. They are also linked to heart disease and obesity. In the 1950s, car culture was considered a problem evident in crowded city centers and neighborhoods. The Netherlands and Belgium had a car-free Sunday in 1956 and 1957, respectively.

In 1994, a paper on reducing dependence on cars was distributed at an international conference. In the late 1990s, several European cities began planning car-free projects. In 2000, it was decided to make the day self-standing and held on September 22, and cities worldwide were invited to participate. The Environmental Transport Association started Car-Free Day on the first Tuesday of their Green Transport Week. On Car-Free Day, people promote walking, bicycles, public transit, and other forms of sustainable transportation. They also think about what their city would be like with fewer cars and ways to make this happen.

The people involved in the sustainable transport movement wanted to see what impact their programs and projects had a decade after the initiative began. They wondered if their programs and projects changed cities for the better or whether all the effort was for nothing. So they decided to work together and start a program in 2004 to set reasonable goals and measure success. Many cities organize events to mark the day.

World Car-Free Day timeline

1950s
The Protests Begin

Crowded city centers and neighborhoods are seen as intrusions by the car culture and so, countries such as Netherlands and Belgium have car-free Sundays.

1994
The International Conference

A paper on reducing dependence on cars is distributed at an international conference.

2000
The First Car-Free Day

The Environmental Transport Association starts World Car-Free Day on the first Tuesday of their Green Transport Week.

2004
The Program is Audited

Those involved in the sustainable transport movement want to see what impact their programs and projects have made a decade after the movement began.

World Car-Free Day FAQs

Is there a country without cars?

There are no cars, scooters, or motorized vehicles allowed on Hydra. The Greek island is known for its well-preserved architecture, stunning blue waters, hidden bays, and beautiful coastal hiking paths.

Is a city without cars possible?

Yes. If it has waterways. Venice is a striking example of how a modern city can function without cars, something impossible to imagine since the city was founded over 1,500 years ago.

What if there were no cars?

Cars allow us to live farther from our jobs, schools, and recreational activities than we could walk. Without vehicles, our cities and suburbs would be more condensed, and most areas would be made up of tall apartment buildings rather than rows and rows of single-family homes.

World Car-Free Day Activities

  1. Leave your car parked all day

    The best way to observe World Car-Free Day is to keep your car parked in your drive all day. Enjoy the thrill of being able to walk around without having to deal with car fumes.

  2. Spread the word

    Spread the word about World Car-Free Day online so that other people will know about it too. Use your social media handles to create a buzz around this event.

  3. Ride a bike

    Celebrate World Car-Free Day by taking your family on a bike ride. If you haven't taught your little one how to bike yet, now is the perfect time to go out and buy one together.

5 Surprising Facts About Cars

  1. The world's first car

    In 1885, Carl Benz invented the first gasoline-powered motor car that had a top speed of just 10 miles per hour.

  2. There are billions of cars worldwide

    It is estimated that there are over 1.2 billion cars in the world today up from 500 million in 1986.

  3. Most people drive on the right

    About 65% of the world drives on the right-hand side of the road.

  4. The most popular car

    The Volkswagen Beetle, a four-wheeled automobile that was the most popular car of the 20th Century, sold more than 20 million units worldwide.

  5. Da Vinci's car

    In 2004, a replica of the first car that Leonardo da Vinci sketched before his death in 1478 was displayed at the Museum and Institute for the History of Science in Florence, Italy.

Why We Love World Car-Free Day

  1. It’s a good time for children

    Bikes are great for getting children out of the house and into the world. They can spend time with other kids on World Car-Free Day.

  2. It helps reduce pollution

    Using public transport and leaving your car at home can cut gas emissions. Fewer cars on the road mean less pollution and traffic jams, making commuting an easy and convenient experience.

  3. It raises awareness

    World Car-Free Day helps raise awareness on how people can live without their cars. The world has reached a point where we need to start thinking about reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and moving towards renewable energy sources.

World Car-Free Day dates

YearDateDay
2023September 22Friday
2024September 22Sunday
2025September 22Monday
2026September 22Tuesday
2027September 22Wednesday

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