Every September 22nd is world car-free transportation day! Since most of us live in cities, we go to work with our private vehicle and think that a life without a car is not possible. But in fact, it is possible to live in car-free cities with the right city planning and government policies.
There are many answers we can give to this question. Although the car sometimes provides us a lot of convenience in our daily life, it actually causes a lot of problems. The carbon emissions that cause the climate crisis cause many health problems such as air pollution.
One of the reasons for the climate crisis is that most of the cars used today run on fossil fuels. 21% of global carbon emissions are caused by transportation (air, sea and land).
Road transport alone is responsible for 15% of global carbon emissions. Air travel accounts for only 2.5% of global carbon emissions, although the use of airplanes is often much more important than cars in climate. Of course, this does not mean that airplanes cause less carbon emissions, but it does show that the carbon emissions of cars have not been brought up sufficiently.
The use of fossil fueled cars brings with it a very serious air pollution, especially in cities. As air pollution increases, the risk of cancer, respiratory diseases and chronic diseases increases.
Although the noise pollution we are exposed to in cities is not mentioned much, it is actually a dangerous problem like air pollution.. According to the report of the World Health Organization, sound pollution is one of the leading causes of health problems after atmospheric pollution. Noise pollution often causes problems in terms of mental health and quality of life of people living in the city.
It is possible to reduce air pollution by regulating our transportation habits in daily life. For example, if we prefer public transportation instead of cars and prefer walking and cycling routes as much as possible, we will take a good step for both our planet and our own health.
While a 6-kilometer journey by public transport causes between 200 and 400 grams of carbon dioxide emissions, it corresponds to 1.4 kg of CO2 emissions by private vehicle.
In addition to individual preferences, some steps need to be taken to promote sustainable transportation at the state level. For example, car-free days can be arranged once a week or bike lanes can be increased, especially in the busy areas of cities.
Applications from the World
For the 22nd September car-free day, many countries close traffic in their busiest cities for a day. But these applications are not limited to just one day. In some countries, there are days when the roads are closed to vehicle traffic every month.
For example, in Paris, roads are closed to vehicle traffic on the first Sunday of every month in order to reduce air and noise pollution in the city center. Wouldn't it be great to see such applications in our country?