Next Wednesday, 22 September, it's that time again, in 46 countries and in over 2000 municipalities: Car Free Day will be celebrated as part of Mobility Week. On this day, people appeal to car drivers to leave their cars behind and get around by bicycle or public transport instead.
Around 1.4 billion cars are on the road all over the world, polluting the environment. One of the ways to combat this is with a car-free day. Berlin is also taking part and is letting everyone travel for free by public transport at the city's expense. In addition, 35 streets or parts of them are closed to car traffic in the afternoons and evenings and turned into play streets. This way, residents can experience what life is like without parked and moving cars in the city. In total, there are about four kilometres of play streets in 35 streets. For four hours from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., people can now play in the street, eat cake and interact with the neighbourhood. The city also provides play street boxes that contain utensils such as colourful sidewalk chalk and garlands. In Vienna, a similar approach is taken. There, however, you have to buy at least a single ticket, with which you can then use the Viennese buses and trams all day.
London also wants to introduce play streets for one day. Applications have been submitted for a total of 600 street sections. In Brighton in Great Britain, a bicycle rental company provides 1000 bicycles. These can be unlocked free of charge with a special code and used for one hour within the city.
In France and Brussels, the car-free day was brought forward and held already on Sunday. From morning to early evening, cars and motorbikes were out in both cities. In Madrid, there is a bicycle parade that goes through Madrid describing the shape of a heart.
The question remains whether you can really convince people who drive to work to switch to public transport if, as in Berlin, you offer them free travel on crowded buses and trains on one day.