It's 2014 . . . and Time to Rethink CFDs

Two decades have soon raced by since the first public Car Free Day challenge was issued in the international transport/environment conference held under the Ciudades Accesibles program in Toledo, Spain. (For details see Thursday: - A Breakthrough Strategy for Reducing Car Dependence in Cities). Over the first decade and a half of this movement, the world has seen hundreds of cities giving the CFD approach a try in very different circumstances, some good, some undeniably bad, some of them on several occasions. That's good, but based on the results we have seen, it is clearly not enough.

But what about the actual accomplishments? It's agreeable of course to have a pleasant day with fewer cars and probably fewer accidents at least in some parts of the city, but that is not the bottom line. The goal of a CFD has from the beginning been to serve as a small step, as a catalyst in a much larger and more ambitious process of city-wide systemic transformation toward a more truly sustainable mobility system. I am afraid that with rare exceptions we are not seeing anything like that.

After all this time and experience it is now time to stand back and look hard to see what if any difference this approach has made. Have CFDs made here or there any significant permanent impacts on our cities and the ways we get around in them. Can we be content with what the great bulk of these projects and programs have achieved thus far, and so just keep going on as is? Or is it not time to stand back and look again? We think so, and we believe this is something we should do together. Which is the theme of our independent international collaborative program in 2004.

The 2014 WC/FD Survey

The survey is laid out to provide quick trouble-free feedback, and is mainly aimed at people who have direct knowledge of and/or experience in organizing or participating in CFDs (or just watching from the sidelines and perhaps wondering whatever if anything is going on).

A. Quick Survey: If you are in a hurry, consists of the six basic identifier questions that appear at the top of the survey from, all of which are signaled in capital letters. Once you have filled this out, the hundreds of people who consult this site looking for ideas and encouragement -- and examples -- will be informed. Thank you.

B. Ten Minute Survey: It is presented in two parts: the first being the list of short questions, and the second which is clickable from the bottom of the form with the phrase "View Guest Book" which gives the survey responses to date. The survey is asking the basic questions ..

  • By way of self-introduction, where do you live, how do you personally organize your daily transport, and what if any has been your direct experience with CFDs?
  • Who are the people, groups who to your knowledge have to pitch in to help make a good CFD work?
  • Can you tell us something about your local CFD (if any)?
  • What are the essential preconditions for success?
  • Why are our CFDs not doing a better job? Where are we missing out?
  • And who is doing a outstanding job in other places -- and how might we all learn from them?
The three main question groups consist of checkable lists, on which you are invited to check those you feel most appropriate.

In the final portions of the survey, ample space is left for your Comments both of a general and specific (in your city) nature; and for your Recommendations. These last could be aimed either at your city and those involved, or might be of a more general nature. (You may find it handy to work up your commentaries off the form so that you can check spelling (sic.) etc, and then cut and paste into the indicated slots. These last may appear on the page to be small but they can handle quite large commentaries (say up to 100 words each).

Check it out. Let us have your views and counsel on this. To our way of thinking this is the only way to do this. After all, who knows your city better than you the people who are out there on the streets every day. And that's where a CFD has to start. Citizen power!!!

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Last updated on 14 June 2011