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Travel without a car: take up the challenge!

(15/10/2012)

A car-free day, an initiative launched for European Mobility Week, has proved popular in many countries. Some towns and local authorities seem to want to extend the experience over several days or several months. This is an original way of raising awareness of the transport network and all the options it offers in terms of intermodality. The free bicycle systems provided by JCDecaux are at the heart of these experiences.

For the 11th consecutive year the town of Ljubljana in Slovenia, where the BicikeLJ free bicycles system has been established, participated in European Mobility Week from 16 to 22 September. For the last two years the town has extended the car-free day into a full week. Part of the town is therefore closed to cars, with only pedestrians, cyclists, buses, delivery and emergency vehicles having the right to cross into the area. During this period, the Department for the Protection of the Environment measures air quality and noise.

  In Belgium, where two systems of free bicycles have been established, Villo! in Brussels and Libiavelo in Namur, the car free day took place on 16 September. Each year, the Bruxelles -Capitale region makes its transport network available to its inhabitants free of charge for one day. Only public transport, taxis, buses, emergency services and public utility vehicles are permitted to drive, with a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h! This year the focus was also on the bicycle, with many events planned around this mode of transport.

Still in Belgium, but in the Walloon area of the country, the car-free experience is being extended over a whole year, during which 16 candidates are being invited to combine the train and electric bicycle to travel from home to the station. The candidates selected are travellers using the stations of Liège and Ottignies. This experience, which will start in March 2012, stems from a partnership between the Fédération Inter-Environnement Wallonie (Walloon Inter-Environment Federation), SNCB-Holding and Pro Velo. Its objective is to improve synergy between the train and bicycle and to show that the railway station is an intermodal platform.

In France, the urban area of Nantes Métropole recruits 12 candidates each year to work car-free for two months. Nantes Métropole makes its transport network available to them free of charge: buses, the light rail system, trams, car-sharing and free bicycles from Bicloo. Participants learn to reorganise their daily movements and in this way show that it is possible to travel without a car by choosing alternative forms of transport. This year, the 6th edition of the " Zenius experience" is taking place from 5 October until 30 November. 

The urban area of Cergy-Pontoise, where the VélO2 system of free bicycles has been established, also encourages the use of environmentally friendly modes of transport, with a challenge of being without a car for three weeks. Six volunteers are provided with all the travel cards necessary to use public transport free of charge including VélO2. The scheme is running until 20 October.