How will you get to work on Thursday, September 22? Will you drive? Take transit? Bicycle or walk? How about those non-work trips, like errands, meeting up with friends, picking up the kids, or grocery shopping?
If any of your plans might involve grabbing your keys and turning the ignition switch on a car, truck, or van, consider changing things up and taking part in this year’s Car Free Day.
Maybe you usually take the train to work but hop in your car to get to the train station. How about taking a bus instead or just working from home? Or maybe you usually drive to the grocery store after work. What about biking? Or lacing up your sneakers and walking? If there’s a trip you absolutely have to take by car, try going “car-lite” by sharing the ride with a friend or neighbor.
Last year, thousands of people in the Washington region took the Car Free Day pledge and explored new ways of getting around. Millions more in over 1,500 other cities around the world did the same. Now is your chance to join them!
Car Free Day has been an annual event in the Washington area since 2008. It is sponsored and organized each year by Commuter Connections, a TPB program focused on promoting travel modes other than driving alone. Reducing trips by car can have significant benefits for the region, including reducing congestion on our roads, improving the quality of our air, and conserving energy.
Commuter Connections usually focuses on trips to and from work, but Car Free Day is much more than that. It invites people to consider all the trips they make in a day and to find ways to replace any they might make by car with another travel mode. That means that students, retirees, stay-at-home parents, and people who work from home can all take part, too. This year, several colleges around the region are challenging their students, faculty, and staff to take the Car Free Day pledge—through the Car Free Capital College Campus Challenge.
Another added dimension to this year’s event is Metro’s ongoing SafeTrack maintenance program. SafeTrack’s round-the-clock single-tracking and shutdowns have pushed many people in the region to explore different ways of reaching their destination. During some of the shutdowns, bus ridership on nearby routes has jumped significantly. Increases in carpooling, bicycling, and teleworking have been noted, too. Not only will this year’s Car Free Day provide another reason for travelers to consider other modes, it might also help them prepare for future disruptions, whether from SafeTrack or other major expected or unexpected events. Trying out a new mode now can help them become more familiar with how to do it so that they’re more comfortable doing it again in the future.
So, what do you think? This September 22, will you join the thousands of other people in the Washington region who will be giving up their car for a day? Take the pledge now!