It seems like there’s a special day for just about everything these days. From World Hat Day, and World Kiss a Ginger Day to World Pumpkin Spice Latte Day. In addition to World Ice Cream Day (my favorite is Haagen Daz Coffee, thanks for asking), there’s one that stands out for me — World Car Free Day.
September 22nd is World Car Free Day which encourages motorists to relinquish their vehicle for 24 hours and use alternative transportation. This day is close to my heart because it encourages people who normally rely on their car to try something new, like using public transit, walking or riding a bike. The aim is to help them realize driving a single-occupancy vehicle isn’t sustainable for our future or environment.
World Car Free Day is difficult for many, even if they wish to use alternative methods of transportation, because sometimes it’s sometimes not possible or convenient. The first/last mile issue is profound. However, with special days like this, it’s further encouragement for people to vote and elect local representatives who have policies to improve local mass transit. Plus, carpooling is always an option to reduce vehicles on the road — it’s an easy way to engage with your local community and fellow commuters, while saving money and reducing car emissions.
Cities celebrate by putting on events in pedestrianized areas that are usually laden with cars and traffic jams. With fewer cars on the road, locals are able to see improvements to their safety while walking around their city, and improvements in the air quality.
If you are new to riding public transport, cycling or walking to work, there’s a free app that can help you find your way without any stress. Moovit provides real-time transit arrivals and directions, trip plans, service alerts and Get Off Alerts through the free smartphone and web app, making traveling via public transit easy and convenient. Moovit works in 44 languages which makes riding public transit in over 83 countries (+2,500 cities) much more manageable.
Today, Car Free Day includes celebrations in almost 50 countries and over 2,000 cities. Paris already started early with their car-free day — see the amazing photos here.
Search online to find out what’s going on in your area and how to get involved. If there isn’t anything going on, be the one to change that by creating your own event and encouraging your friends, relatives and local community to join in. Every little counts!