Car-free days and ciclovías involve closing city streets to motorized traffic and opening them completely to pedestrians and cyclists, in order to promote physical activity and encourage people to use an alternative to private motorized transport as a part of their daily routine. It is important to note that car-free days and ciclovías provide a modest GHG emissions reduction benefit, as they are often voluntary and usually implemented across few streets for a limited duration; nevertheless, they can lead to longer-term transit behavioral change.
- Both passenger and freight are subject to travel restrictions, with potential non-motorized beneficiaries in each area.
- Travel restrictions are focused on motorized vehicles, with benefits accruing to non- motorized modes (cycling and walking).
- CO2 benefits from car-free days/ciclovías are likely to be less pronounced than the sustainable development benefits from reduced levels of congestion and local air pollutants.
- Airparif, which measures Paris pollution levels, said levels of NOx dropped by up to 40% in parts of the city during its first car-free day. A report by the French Sénat (upper house of parliament), found that air pollution costs France €101.3bn (£75bn) a year due to negative health, economic and financial consequences.
Status of deployment:
- Ciclovías are a strategy with reasonably balanced representation in the developing and developed worlds. In Seoul, residents are encouraged once a week to leave their cars at home as part of the city’s No Driving Day program.s Due to this initiative, traffic volumes have been reduced by 3.7%, CO2 emissions by 10%, and fuel costs by $50 million annually. Economic analysis of ciclovía events in Bogota suggests that savings in direct medical costs ranged from USD $3.2 to USD $4.3 for every dollar invested in the Ciclovía program. 22 million people have participated in the European Car Free Day campaign and over 85% want it regularly repeated, with 44% of Paris residents requesting a weekly car free day.