Fifty percent of all car trips made in Europe are less than 3km. This leads to congestion and an unhealthy populace and is therefore something the European Commission wants to reduce.
Environmental groups have been given the go-ahead to organise national car-free days to link in with the pan-European one.
The In Town Without My Car? day aims to raise awareness of the need to reduce car dependence on the car.
It enables citizens to see the advantages of a 'car free' environment, whilst constituting an important occasion for dialogue and information on the development of transport policy and local authority planning. The day also allows new modes of transport to be tested in situ (gas buses, pedestrian paths, cycle paths, etc), says Richard Evans of the Environmental Transport Association, the green AA, who is the UK co-ordinater for In Town Without My Car!
Tel: 020 8946 0912
The full ETA press release follows...
European Car Free Day In Town Without My Car!
4 February 2000: Launch of the European Car Free Day 2000 by the European
Commissioner for the Environment and several EU Ministers
On 4 February 2000
· Margot WALLSTRÖM, European Commissioner for Environment,
· José SÓCRATES, Portuguese Minister for the Environment and Spatial
Planning and Representative of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of
the European Union,
· Dominique VOYNET, French Minister for Spatial Planning and the
· Edo RONCHI, Italian Minister for the Environment and
· Isabelle DURANT, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Mobility
will launch the European Car Free Day 2000, which will take place on 22
This launch conference will be an occasion to sign a pledge inviting their
EU counterparts to join the initiative.
According to recent surveys, European citizens are becoming increasingly
concerned about air pollution and urban mobility problems resulting from
traffic congestion. At the same time, the number of cars on the road
continues to grow in the majority of European cities, with more than 50% of
all car trips made in Europe covering a distance of less than 3 km.
The European Car Free Day aims to raise awareness of the need to change
mobility behaviour among elected representatives and European citizens. It
enables citizens to see the benefits of a 'car free' environment whilst
representing a platform for dialogue and information on the development of
transport plans. It also allows city councils to test new transport
measures in situ (gas buses, pedestrian paths, cycle paths etc.).
Scheduled for 22 September, this year's initiative follows the success of
the "In town without my car" day held in 1998 in 35 French towns and cities
and in 1999, when 66 French cities were joined by 92 Italian and 6 Swiss
On these days, car-free areas were established in large parts of the city
centre, enabling citizens to discover their home town on foot, by bicycle
or public transport, and to test out new low emission vehicles.
Conventional goods vehicles were replaced by electric or zero emission
alternatives and public transport fares were discounted for the day. 22
million people participated in the campaign, with more than 85 % wishing to
see the operation regularly repeated in the future.
The launch event of the European Car Free Day is jointly organised by the
European Commission and Car Free Cities, the European network for a new
mobility culture. Alongside the European Commissioner for the Environment
and official representatives of European Ministries for the Environment and
Transport, speakers at the launch event will be Mayors of European cities,
including Leoluca Orlando, President of Car Free Cities - network for a new
mobility culture - and Mayor of Palermo.
During the event, the European Charter providing local authorities with the
guidelines for the organisation of the European Car Free Day will be
A press conference will take place at 11.10 (see venue below). The
Commissioner and the participating Ministers will sign a declaration
inviting other countries and regions to join the initiative and committing
themselves to promoting and facilitating the organisation of the European
Car Free Day.
The ETA will co-ordinate In Town Without My Car! in Britain
ETA Car-Free Day Co-ordinator is Richard Evans:
+44 (0)20 8946 0912
Launch conference : Friday 4 February 2000 from 9.30 to 18.00 Salle Albert
Venue: Palais des Congrès, Salle Albert I, Coudenberg 3, 1000 Brussels.
Press conference: 11.10 am, 4 February Salle Mercator, Palais des Congrès
Car Free Cities, the European network for a new mobility culture,
represents 72 local authorities committed to promoting sustainable urban
mobility. Established in 1994, Car Free Cities is an initiative of the
European Commission and Eurocities
For further information, contact : Elisabetta ZANON : +32 2 552 08 74 -
What is the In town without my car Day?
On September 22nd 1999, the French Minister for Regional Planning and the
Environment organised the In town, without my car? day. 66 French and 93
Italian towns and cities participated in the In town, without my car? day,
representing more than 22 million citizens in Europe.
Car free areas were reserved for pedestrians, bicycles, clean fuel vehicles
and public transportation.
89% of the French people approved the initiative and 81% wanted the
operation to take place in the future in every French city.
What is the aim of the day?
A staggering 50% of all car trips made in Europe are less than 3km. The In
town without my car? day aims to make a significant contribution to raising
awareness of the need to reduce our dependence on the car. It enables
citizens to see the advantages of a 'car free' environment, whilst
constituting an important occasion for dialogue and information on the
development of transport policy and local authority planning. The day also
allows new modes of transport to be tested in situ (gas buses, pedestrian
paths, cycle paths, etc).
ETA Car-Free Day in Britain is co-ordinated by the Environmental Transport
Association, Britain's only motoring organisation campaigning for greener
transport. The ETA provides breakdown and recovery services whilst
campaigning for environmentally sound transport. Its fast and reliable
breakdown services at competitive prices allow motorists an ethical choice between pro-roads and pro-environment motoring organisations. The ETA also
operates Britain's first and only recovery service for cyclists.
Further details of the ETA and its campaigns are on the internet at