Jakarta weekly Car Free Day, 2010
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World Car Free Day, which is celebrated on September 22, encourages motorists to give up their cars for a day. Organized events are held in some cities and countries.

The events, which vary by location, give motorists and commuters an idea of their locality with fewer cars. While projects along these lines had taken place from time to time on an ad hoc basis starting with the 1973 oil crisis, it was only in October 1994 that a structured call for such projects was issued in a keynote speech by Eric Britton at the International Ciudades Accessibles (Accessible Cities) Conference held in Toledo (Spain).

Within two years the first Days were organized in Reykjavík (Iceland), Bath (United Kingdom) and La Rochelle (France), and the informal World Car Free Days Consortium was organized in 1995 to support Car-Free Days worldwide. The first national campaign was inaugurated in Britain by the Environmental Transport Association in 1997, the French followed suit in 1998 as In town, without my car! and was established as a Europe-wide initiative by the European Commission in 2000. In the same year the Commission enlarged the program to a full European Mobility Week which now is the major focus of the Commission, with the Car-Free Day part of a greater new mobility whole.

In 1996, a Dutch action group, Pippi Autoloze Zondag, started a national campaign for car free days. Pippi organized monthly illegal street actions to take over the streets and stop the cars. After blocking the streets, there would be parties, picknicks, kids playing, rollerskate on the motorway, street painting and music artists playing. The police would break the party down and make arrests. Pippi went on to create a Dutch national group to fight for car free days. Pippi lobbied every single national parliament politician from the Netherlands and inspired Dutch national parties to adopt the concept of car free days in their agenda. Every major city government in Netherland received Pippi's proposals to implement care free days, forcing them to debate the issue. After two years of actions, several cities in Netherland started to implement car free days. The same city mayors that were ordering the police to arrest the car free activists, were two years later playing the hero for implementing car free days in their cities.

Also in 2000, car free days went global with a World Carfree Day program launched by Carbusters, now World Carfree Network, and in the same year the Earth Car Free Day collaborative program of the Earth Day Network and the World Car Free Days collaborative.

Currently Bogotá holds the world's largest car-free weekday event covering the entire city. The first car-free day was held in February 2000 and became institutionalised through a public referendum.

According to The Washington Post, the event "promotes improvement of mass transit, cycling and walking, and the development of communities where jobs are closer to home and where shopping is within walking distance". Studies showed that for short trips in cities, one can reach more quickly using a bicycle rather than using a car.

While considerable momentum has been achieved in terms of media coverage, these events turn out to be difficult to organize to achieve real success (perhaps requiring significant reorganization of the host city's transportation arrangement) and even a decade later there is considerable uncertainty about the usefulness of this approach. Broad public support and commitment to change is needed for successful implementation. By some counts by advocates (disputed), more than a thousand cities worldwide organized “Days” during 2005.

In September 2007, Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, held its first Car-Free Day that closed the main avenue of the city from cars and invited local pedestrian to exercise and having their activities on the streets that normally full of cars and traffic. Along the road from the Senayan traffic circle on Jalan Sudirman, South Jakarta, to the Selamat Datang Monument at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle on Jalan Thamrin, all the way north to National Monument Central Jakarta, cars are cleared out for pedestrians. Since May 2012 Car-Free Day in Jakarta is held every Sunday. It is held on the main avenues of the city, Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin, from Senayan area to Monas (Monumen Nasional), from 6 AM to 11 AM.

While not an officially organized Car-Free Day, every year traffic in Israel stops (except for emergency vehicles) for more than 24 hours in observance of Yom Kippur. This encompasses all motorized vehicles, including cars and public transportation (buses, trains, taxis, airplanes etc.). Cycling enthusiasts of the Hiloni stream and other religions take advantage of this, and roads (except in religious neighborhoods) become de facto esplanade and cycleways. Air pollution in Israel that day, measured by nitrogen oxides, dropped by 99 percent.

When[edit | edit source]

Sep 22, 2021, Wed

How to get involved[edit | edit source]

See World Carfree Day, worldcarfree.net, The role of WCN

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Car free day W, Carfree city W, Car-free movement W, Pedestrian zone W

World Carfree Day, worldcarfree.net ("page was last updated 28 July 2014")