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6 Tips to Free Yourself from Your Car

6 Tips to Free Yourself from Your Car
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Written by Michael Graham Richard, a Treehugger blogger

Today is World Carfree Day, and to celebrate, here are 6 ways (well, 5 and a half, depending how you count the last one) to leave your car behind… And I’m not talking about just for one day! Try it as a lifestyle change and see how you like it.

Do You Want to Go Car Free?

We often write about how our society is too car-centric, and while it’s important to improve cars so they’re orders of magnitude greener (because they aren’t going away anytime soon), it’s also crucial to have a wide variety of alternatives to the automobile. What are these alternatives? To some of you they might be obvious — you might use some of them every day — but to others who are just starting to try to reduce their dependence on cars, an overview of what’s out there will be useful. Here we go!

 

waltarrrrr/flickr

1. Buses
Probably the most obvious choice, the bus can either be a great way to get around or a nightmare, depending on where you live. Sadly, in many places there’s been a comparatively small investment in bus transit compared to the money that goes into the infrastructure used by cars.

One way to make the bus more attractive is to create more reserved lanes and bus rapid transit (BRT) systems (check out Curitiba’s BRT: 2.3 million passengers/day). If buses have to spend too much time using the same lanes as cars, they just end up swallowed up by the masses of cars during peak traffic times and there’s very little benefit to taking the bus. But if they can bypass all that, a lot more people will use them.

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Photo from epSos.de via flickr creative commons

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98 comments

+ add your own
11:34PM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

A nice list but there is one important tip I think should be added: Delivery.
One of the many reasons for owning a car is that it makes shopping much easier relative to other transport options. But the easiest way of all is to have shopping home delivered. One delivery van going to many households is far more efficient than each household driving to a shopping centre.

For spontaneous purchases, almost any bicycle can be set up to carry a decent load of shopping.

Getting your shopping delivered need not be boring and unsocial. Setting up a veggie-box co-op with neighbours means that once every few weeks you can take a trip to local markets, buy in bulk and personally deliver to several households.

Delivery can be the difference between needing your own car and not.

8:23PM PDT on Jul 21, 2012

it's pretty critical in this town

1:07PM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

I haven't owned a car in 16yrs. It feels Great!

11:19AM PST on Nov 8, 2011

what we need to do is get the vast majority of people who never think about such things to start thinking. leading by example is one good way. then talk to people about the choices you make and explain why. sometimes you can actually see the light go on in their heads.

2:01PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

thanks

3:43PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

thanks for the info

9:20AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

I lived in San Francisco for 14 years without a car. It was lovely. Now I live in LA and with my schedule and commute a car is mandatory. How I miss the simpler days.

6:13PM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

thanks

6:23AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

These are all great ideas, especially walking and biking when possible because you are also keeping yourself in shape. This is also great time management as you can commute and exercise at the same time. However, sometimes you do want or need a car, and in those cases the bigger problem isn't the CAR, it's the FUEL. Let's add electric vehicles to the list of solutions. Even if the electricity is generated by a coal plant, it's so much more efficient than petro burning cars you're still polluting less. As we (hopefully expedite) transition to solar and other clean energy, we'll have the convenience and comfort of a car and be green too!

1:07PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

What about the Plain thee American use also, the poor cannot afford the cars

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