Do you have any tips on going car-free in a mid-size city?
-Anna-Lisa D., Wilmington, DE
Kudos if you’re giving up your car entirely. Even if you can’t do it every day, occasionally going car-free is an impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint. Vehicles account for 51 percent of a typical household’s carbon dioxide emissions! Traveling by foot, bike, or public transportation can significantly reduce your environmental impact, as well as your transportation costs. Plus, it will be great exercise and can allow you to really explore your city.
The keys to successful car-free days are preparation and time management. Here are a few tips that should help.
- Carry a bag that’s versatile enough for travel by foot or bike, for the distance that you are going. For example, a tote bag will be fine for a relatively short trip on foot, but it may tire your shoulders for longer distances, and it may be difficult to carry on a bike.
- Do test runs between frequent destinations so you can accurately manage your time. Knowing how long it takes to bike, walk, or take public transportation between home and work, for example, is crucial.
- Dress appropriately. Obvious enough, right? It means checking the full day’s weather before you go and packing extra clothing, if necessary.
- Always carry a few essential items with you, such as a small amount of cash, ID, and an emergency contact card with your medical information. If you aren’t carrying a cellphone, make sure someone knows where you will be.
- Study a map of your city and learn pedestrian- or bike-friendly routes before you begin.