The day has quite a long unofficial history. First car free days were held in 1956 in Belgium and the Netherlands. Since the 1973 oil crisis projects on a similar basis had taken place from time to time, but it was irregular. In October 1994 an American political scientist, Eric Britton, in his speech in Toledo highlighted the need for projects like that. Several countries have decided then to approve this idea. For example, in Britain the first national campaign in this field was inaugurated in 1997, and in France a campaign In town, without my car! was established one year later. Year 2000 was disruptive: the European Commission adopted the French campaign as a Europe-wide initiative and enlarged it to a full European Mobility Week; and the first official global World Carfree Day was launched by Carbusters, now known as World Carfree Network.
September 22 is an occasion for all motorists to give up their cars for a day – or longer if they like it. If you look around on that day in some cities and countries, you may notice how your locality would look like with fewer cars on the streets, less noise and pollution. The topic of air pollution produced by cars is worth considering, because it concerns each of us personally, regardless of whether you are a driver or not. Foreign substances wafting in the air that should not be there have bad impact on our lungs. This is only one of many reasons why we should at least try to reduce the amount of time we spend in a car. Although cars offer us many convenient benefits, you might be surprised to see how many alternatives you have.
Did you know?
Many big cities worldwide decide to close some main streets on September 22 in order to encourage the citizens to use public transport, a bicycle, or simply take a walk. One of the first cities in the world doing this was Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, where local pedestrians could use the main avenue of the city without any cars or traffic jams. In Kaohsiug, Taiwan, all city public transport was free for the whole week in 2007. London, on the other hand, in 2019 had closed over 16 miles of central roads.
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