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Because You Asked

How Can I Go Car-Free?

By Recyclebank |

Keep these tips in mind when you’re leaving the car behind.

Dear Recyclebank,

Do you have any tips on going car-free in a mid-size city?

-Anna-Lisa D., Wilmington, DE


Dear Anna-Lisa

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.



Do you have any tips for going car-free? Share them in the comments below!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Chris G. 2 days ago
    If you live in a big city (or Europe) you can get away with car free but you will still need one to travel. Being an armybrat I never stay home so I go on short trips every month or so to visit family and military friends all over the states. Can't take an electric car on a 12 hour drive. It would take a whole day and you would have to pay for a hotel which I can't afford. LOL I do the 12 hour in one day stay with family and friends and head back home in 3-4 days.
  • Patricia G. 2 days ago
    I grew up taking buses, trains, subway, street car to work every day and it only took 40 minutes. My body can't do that anymore. LOL
  • tommy b. 11 days ago
  • Barbara W. 15 days ago
    I remember when a friend from Manhattan, NY, came to visit. We went to see the National Weather Center on the OU campus in Norman , OK. We were observing in a tall building overlooking the campus. She said," HOW do the students get to their classes, the buildings are so far apart"? I answered you drive to the parking lot for that building, or ride a bike. It was hard for her to understand things here are all spread apart with lots of trees. Whereas there it's all up and down with concrete and public transportation. Each has there benefits and drawbacks. All of us have to deal with whats around us in the most efficient way we can with what we have.
  • MARIA M. 15 days ago
    it pays to carpool especially older people in rural areas say in the mountains, you pick up a couple people to go with you and back .
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