Car Free Day: Washington, DC urges residents to go car free


The United States capital is embracing this year’s international Car Free Day, which encourages everyone to opt for more sustainable modes of transport.
“Drop the keys for a Day” is this year’s theme for Car Free Day in the Washington, DC region. On Friday, 22 September, Car Free Day will be celebrated worldwide to raise awareness of better and healthier ways of getting around, other than driving alone. Travellers are encouraged to use transportation methods such as bicycling, walking, transit, or working from home; or car-lite methods such as carpooling or vanpooling. Car Free Day brings focus to lowering the harmful effects of pollution caused by cars, and to the positive aspects of transportation alternatives, such as improved mobility. Travellers are being asked to take the free online pledge at and indicate their greener transportation mode of choice on September 22.
Organizers hope that after trying different ways to get around other than driving alone, the experience will be such that consideration will be given for doing so on a more frequent basis. Although taking the pledge can still be done by those already using transportation alternatives, the event looks to have an impact on those currently driving by themselves.
Car Free Day is promoted by Commuter Connections in the Washington DC region, but it’s for everybody who travels, not just commuters. There are car free or car-lite ways to run errands, go to class, or just have fun too. On Car Free Day, bikeshare to that doctor appointment, Metrorail to campus, carpool to work, or take the bus to the museum.
Car Free Day is joining forces with the DC Department of Energy and Environment to raise awareness of the damaging effects of vehicle emissions, and to announce that the District of Columbia has been designated as a Breathe Life City. This effort is a campaign to help protect the health and well-being of citizens and the planet from the dangers of air pollution, and is being led by the World Health Organization, United Nations Environment, and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition.
In addition to improving the environment, other benefits of using transportation alternatives are abundant. Saving time and money, lowering driver frustration, getting exercise, and making new friends are just a few.
Doing good for the environment has its perks. Each person who takes the Car Free Day pledge will receive a Buy One-Get One Free offer from all Chipotle Mexican Grill locations in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, good only on 22 September. Everyone will also be entered into a raffle for great prizes including a Kindle Fire, Capital Bikeshare annual memberships, $25 SmarTrip® cards, gift cards to restaurants and more.
Car Free Day is teaming up with the American Lung Association, Mid-Atlantic region. The American Lung Association helps America breathe easier, and Car Free Day is a great day for residents, commuters, students, and homemakers to get around in a cleaner fashion.
Commuter Connections is a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Commuter Connections offers free assistance for ridesharing, transit, bicycling, walking, teleworking, and other alternatives to drive alone commuting; and offers the Guaranteed Ride Home and Pool Rewards programmes. Commuter Connections is funded by the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and U.S. Departments of Transportation.
Pollution is the theme of the 2017 United Nations Environment Assembly, which is meeting in Nairobi from 4 to 6 December.