Preparing your next Car Free Day: Check out the fundamentals.

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The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994

Short History: Whereas Car Free Days have been organized in cities around the world all over the year for the last two  decades, there is inevitably a spate of high activity in the month of September, much of it the result of the European Commission’s continuing commitment to both the concept of Car Free Days and their own European Mobility Week. And each year we here at World Streets dig into our archives and dust off one or two of the classics as a timely reminder of the fact that the Car Free Day concept has been around and doing its bit since the first international announcement and challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.

velib-guyWhy do we bother to do this year after year? After all, there is copious documentation and background available at a click, as a quick tour of Google of those three little words yields somewhat more than 55,000 entries, including a fair if distinctly uneven introduction in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days. The problem is that most of this material seriously misses the point, and as a result often handicaps cities and groups wishing to organize a Day (a week or month close) to underestimate potential of this approach. The trick is that all of this is quite a simple as it may at first glance appear.

To this end, here we are once again minding the store with the original 1994 article announcing the concept, along with several others from our archives which would appear here in the coming days. A general reference which the reader may find of use is the general introduction which appears here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/. You will find at the end of this reposting, three separate annexes which provide supplemental background on (Annex A) New Mobility – 1988-1994 Program Summary; (B) Other Tools to Get the Job Done; and (C) a listing of more recent references.

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A Short History of Car Free Days (Weeks, Months, Cities): Origins, Timeline, Progress

Toledo (Spain), 22 Sept. 1994 . Ciudades Accessibles (Accessible Cities) Conference
“Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the street and think about it.”

INDIA GUARGON CAR FREE DAY BICYCLIST

Here is how the Car Free Days movement got started and has taken shape over the last 24 years.  This is the second in a series of articles which we update and post annually just prior to the September rush to get the latest batch of Car Free Day/New Mobility Agenda projects off the ground. We hope that these pieces and the references you find here are going to prove useful to those responsible for making a success of their Days in 2018 and beyond. Getting a CFD right and making it a real success is no easy task — good knowledge of what has worked and not worked in the past should serve you well. Continue reading

WHAT’S THIS? VÉLO’V! VÉLO’V?

And just in case you may not happen to know . . .  back in early 2005, the City of Lyon, in close partnership  with  the firm JCDecaux (street furniture, outdoor advertising) , got together in a lively partnership and for the first time ever  in a city anywhere on the planet decided to dump  a couple of thousand “public bikes” onto the streets of a city, keep them working  and see what happens.   And they never looked back.

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Op-ed. Successful Fare-free Public Transport never comes alone

“Those that fail to learn the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat them.” 
– Attributed to Winston Churchill (and others)

Discussions of free public transport are often presented by the media and too often even in expert discussions as if it were a new concept that has no history.  To make wise policy decisions we need to be aware of this history.

To this end, this broad historic  overview and critical expert commentary on the international evolution of Fare Free Public Transport  (FTP here) covering the last half century was prepared by Dr. Michel van Hulten (see below) and submitted as a working paper in support of the international conference organized in Tallinn under the title: “Free public transport for all. Dream or reality”   In this working paper the author looks at the issues of the ‘why, how, when, where to pay for public transport’ (FFPT) – issues and questions that need to be at the heart  of our discussions and in time our decisions and actions.  

Required reading!

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FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORT: THE VISION OF PLANKA.NU

Planka.nu is a network of organizations in Sweden and Norway promoting tax-financed zero-fare public transport with chapters in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Skåne, Östergötland and Oslo.[1] Planka.nu was founded in 2001 by the Swedish Anarcho-syndicalist Youth Federation in response to the increasingly expensive ticket prices in the public transport system in Stockholm. The campaign has received much attention because of the controversial methods used to promote free public transport: Planka.nu encourage people to fare-dodge in the public transport, aiding its members in paying penalty fares through the insurance fund p-kassan.

Here is some of their thinking on this subtle topic for transport planners, politicians and civil society.

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“It’s the pace of the technology meeting the pace that our municipalities move at”

Dockless bike pile up image silenthill imagine China

Image: SilentHill

Ouch! And so well said!

These few telling words from  Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance, a transportation advocacy group watching out for the public interest in Boston Massachusetts — in the context of a critical commentary on the dockless bike wars that are  presently ravaging cities and challenging governments around the world.

And this of course is what World Streets is supposed to be all about: The Politics of Transport in Cities.  Satcy has put our challenge into a nutshell.

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VÉLIB’ CRISIS IN PARIS: “THE HARDEST IS YET TO COME”

Happier days for Vélib’ in Paris

JCDecaux, which operated the Paris Vélib ‘self-service bicycle service for ten years before losing the market to Smovengo last year, said on March 8 that its successor was not up to the challenge of the delays accumulated in its launch.

The Smovengo consortium chosen last spring by the Autolib ‘Vélib’ Métropole union at the expense of JCDecaux, had promised to install 1,400 new stations (or 20,000 Vélib) by March 31st. According to the latest figures, only 345 stations were in service, making this schedule unreachable. Faced with the controversy and anger of Vélib’ users, the City of Paris announced that it was sending municipal staff to supervise the deployment and work of the provider, a rare decision

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