Mass rides and street parties planned for World Car Free Day 2022

The annual event sees drivers across the globe leave rides at home and switch to public transport or active travel, highlighting the impact small changes can make. 

Thursday 22nd September is World Car Free Day 2022, with campaigners calling on councils and the British public to take part in the activism event to encourage long-standing behavioural changes. 

gray concrete road between green trees under blue sky during daytime

With an aim of showing how relatively small changes can accumulatively make a big difference, for example, taking a bus or train, walking or cycling to work, the initiative is focused on creating localised evidence at ground level of how neighbourhoods, towns and cities can be improved with fewer vehicles on the road. A key goal is also raising awareness of available alternatives to car use. 

Reducing the number of cars on roads has a significant impact on air quality, and can also bolster local economies with more likelihood commuters visit shops and small businesses when they are not driving. Recent research published by the Clean Cities Campaign suggested more than 60% of respondents in Scotland believe leaving their cars at home one day per week is a good idea. 

‘Transport is Scotland’s biggest source of climate emissions, it’s creating dangerous levels of air pollution and it’s costing people far too much money. It needs to change. This Car Free Day, there’ll be street parties and bike rides and community-building activities that aren’t possible if our towns and cities are filled with cars,’ said Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Gavin Thomson, nodding to initiatives like Street Play in Glasgow, where residents can close roads to host parties and workshops between 22nd and 25th September, Edinburgh Council shutting Waverley Bridge for special events, and more than 200 Kidical mass rides planned across Europe, which protect children cycling in areas without segregated bike lanes through temporary measures. 

‘When we remove cars, like on streets that become pedestrianised, we open up public space for communities and businesses,’ he continued. ‘The Scottish Government has committed to reducing car travel by 20%, but we’ve yet to see any detail on how they will deliver this. It’s clear that our cities should be limiting cars, opening up space for communities. A regular car free day in cities would be a great idea.’

In August, Air Quality News released a podcast focused on Low Emission Zones in Scotland. World Car Free Day is recognised in all parts of the UK and in many other countries across the world. Check your local government’s website to find out what measures are being taken in your area. 

Image: Callum Blacoe


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1 year ago

All very well if you live in a town or village with a good bus service. But what about those of us who would have to walk miles and those of us who can’t? I hope we would not be made to feel guilty. Back to horse and cart or donkeys for some of us perhaps? And what about diesel bus fumes? I’d love to see my town square pedestrianised but the council says it would be bad for buisness and deliveries. And where would people wait to catch their buses? All rather complicated but a Car Free Day is still worth trying. Thank you for telling us about it.

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