world car free day

“Give up your car for a day, what if you like it?!” say activists on World Car Day, which is celebrated every year in many cities on September 22. In Moscow, this action has been held since 2008 with the support of the Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection of the city of Moscow. Citizens are urged for a day to abandon the use of personal vehicles in favor of more environmentally friendly ways of moving around the city. The main purpose of the action is to draw the attention of the population to the negative consequences for nature due to the use of cars.

Greening transport

Today, industrial enterprises and vehicles account for the bulk of urban air pollution. In order to reduce the negative impact, a set of programs has been adopted in Moscow, and projects for the transition to green energy are being implemented. The measures taken have allowed Moscow over the past 10 years to reduce the average annual concentrations of the main pollutants in the atmospheric air by 1.1-1.6 times, and along highways – 1.1–2.5 times, figures were given by the Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection of the city of Moscow.

Today, more than a thousand electric buses carry passengers in Moscow. This eco-friendly mode of transport appeared on the streets of the capital a few years ago.

– According to expert estimates, since the introduction of electric buses, about 620 tons of pollutant emissions have been avoided on the streets of the city. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel buses in 2021 is estimated at 33 thousand tons of CO2, and for the entire period of operation in the city (since 2018) – at 60 thousand tons of CO2, – told Head of the Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection of the City of Moscow Anton Kulbachevsky.

Photo: Anton Gerdo / Evening Moscow

Updates affected all urban surface public transport. So, quiet low-floor Vityaz-Moscow cars operate on many tram routes. Thanks to separate tracks, trams do not depend on traffic jams and run on schedule.

The subway also continues to develop. For example, there are many new trains with less noise and more fresh air. Today, 2,700 railcars are equipped with an automatic air disinfection system built into the air conditioners.

As part of the task of reviving river transport, river electric trams appear in the capital. This transport is not for excursions, but for regular trips, it can be paid in the same way as metro trips. The first test route will run from the Fili Park to the Kievsky railway station.

New charging stations for electric vehicles are being installed. For them, special electric charging stations are equipped. Most of these stations appear in places where people most often spend time: near shopping malls and business centers, near grocery stores and cafes, near residential buildings.

Reasonable Approach

Of course, one person cannot significantly improve the air in the city, but the more people travel short distances on foot rather than by car, switch to environmentally friendly modes of transport (bicycles, scooters, electric cars, public transport), the greater the cumulative effect will be. .

Studies show that a lack of exercise provokes an increase in cases of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the factor of physical activity is an important contribution to health, increasing overall well-being and overall quality of life.

People who are accustomed to moving only by car are so reluctant to use other modes of transport that they prefer to stand in traffic jams and be an hour late for theaters. It seems to them that, having walked down the street in the rain, they will get dirty and will not look as presentable as they would like. Although in the capital for a long time the streets are so clean and well-groomed that in the city center you can walk in white. In addition, comfortable sneakers and cozy clothes are in trend, not wobbly stilettos.


How did World Car Day appear, how did it all begin?

Since the 1950s, various groups around the world have protested against the use of automobiles. At the same time, they believed that cars were disrupting the way of life in cities and regions.

The first World Car Free Day was held in 1973 in Switzerland. Residents of the country were urged to stop traveling by car. In subsequent years, similar actions were held in different cities of the world, but without reference to specific dates.

Photo: Alexey Orlov / Evening Moscow

The 1990s began to talk about the negative impact of cars on the environment and to release scientific studies on this. Since that period, projects and strategies to reduce the number of vehicles, and in some cases even abandon them, have been actively discussed in the world’s megacities.

Since 2002, a week of mobility has been held in 50 countries of the world, in some cities the center is blocked, which can only be reached on foot. People with a driver’s license can travel on September 22 in public transport for free.

Each city has its own approach to celebrating World Car Free Day. So, in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, during the day, residents are offered to ride horses. In Belarus, it has become a tradition to hold city bike rides on September 22. In Moscow, various environmental education classes and interactive events are organized annually by this date, bike rides and activities are held in the capital’s natural areas.

The article is in Russian

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