This year, on Tuesday September 22, Tauranga will again be joining more than 2,000 cities around the world to celebrate World Car Free Day.
Choose your way on car free day
Skip the traffic, put down the car keys and try a new way of getting around – choose your way. Whether it's walking, biking, taking the bus or choosing your skateboard or e-scootering, it all helps reduce congestion on our roads and creates a better environment.
Not so long-ago Alert Level 4 lockdown gave us an opportunity to use our streets and experience our city in a different way. More walking, more cycling and less time in our cars. In the Mount, people biking increased by 277%, with a daily average of 1,213 cyclists a day, and a peak of 2,104.
Why not choose Tuesday, 22 September as a work from home day? Or if you do need to head into the office, ask around, see if anyone is coming in who you could carpool with, borrow a bike from or walk in with.
Buses are another option – get out your Bee card for a discounted ride, sit back and relax. Don’t forget your face covering.
Maybe walking or biking short distances to your local supermarket or shops or for the school drop off and pick up is the thing you choose to do – whatever it is, thank you for doing your bit for the environment.
What is World Car Free Day?
World Car Free Day is a day designed to encourage car users to leave the car at home and choose an alternative mode of transport such as walking, cycling or catching the bus. While cars are a useful and convenient means of transport, they are a contributing factor to environmental pollution.
Why are we celebrating World Car Free Day?
Compared to the rest of New Zealand, Tauranga has a high percentage of single occupancy vehicle users. The 2018 census provided statistics that showed about 76% of people travel to work in Tauranga in a private or company vehicle.
In most cities overseas the biggest issue that cars contribute to is air pollution and carbon emissions. In Tauranga, we aim to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion, which will also reduce environmental emissions and pollution.
How can I be involved?
This year, you can choose your way by getting the bus, riding your bike, e-scooter or lacing up your sneakers and walking to work, school or out to the shops.
Map out your route, challenge friends or family to find the quickest way to work or school, or just enjoy the scenic views and the spring air along the way.
Choose to mix it up - travel smart all week
World Car Free Day highlights the importance of giving your car and the environment a break. Why not choose the whole week to travel smarter and try out the different mobility options and alternatives to driving a car all the way, every day.
Squeeze in a workout. Walking to work is great way to stay fit and healthy. Use your daily commute to get in your recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day. Studies show that people who walk for at least 25 minutes per day can hope to live on average of three to seven years longer.
Be happy, healthy and in control. An Auckland University study revealed that reliability, sensory stimulation, feelgood factor and social interaction are why people who cycle are the happiest commuters. The study focused on e-bikes but reflects increasing international research findings which shows that active transport users are the happiest transport users.
Want to walk and bike? Tauranga urban buses have bike racks installed that fit two bikes. You can choose to walk or bike a bit further to a different bus stop or get off a stop early and ride the rest of the way.
Make the most of your time. Your time on the bus gives you ample opportunity to read the newspaper or your latest book, work on your smartphone, chat with friends or just sit back, relax, and listen to music.
Catching the bus? Remember that when you are catching the bus during Alert Level 2 you must wear a face covering. It’s still a good idea to try and maintain physical distancing where possible. Do not catch the bus if you feel unwell.
Save money. Owning and using a car comes at a cost. Car cost calculators are available online and allow users to make personalised assessments. A smart combination of other modes is often cheaper: walking is free and the price of a bicycle or a Bee card for the bus are comparatively low.
- There are many urban challenges associated with individual cars: pollution, congestion, use of public urban space, road safety, public health, etc. By mixing how we move, we can reduce the impact of these issues. This can also translate into financial benefit for society. For instance, congestion costs the economy through productive time lost and freight delays.
- Individual cars are at the core of Tauranga’s mobility habits so the potential for improvement is huge. Changing the way we travel and reducing our need to travel will only grow and develop if residents and workplaces reconsider their mobility habits.
- Tauranga City Council is implementing a range of measures and infrastructure improvements to assist with this shift - cycle lanes, bus priority and improved connections are physical moves, whereas improving and educating people so that they have the skills and confidence to walk, cycle, scooter or skateboard are more practical measures.
Want to keep it up? Try leaving the car at home once a week and try out new ways of getting around – you’ll feel better for it!
How can my workplace be involved?
If your organisation or business is considering cutting the costs of parking, company cars or wants to assist employees with a more sustainable or active commute to work, our Travel Safe workplace programme can provide support and guidance on alternative options. Contact Yvonne at Travel Safe – firstname.lastname@example.org
- 63% of Tauranga’s carbon emissions come from transport, mostly cars and trucks. (Source: Tauranga Carbon Footprint Emissions Report 2017)
- 1 bus = up to 40 fewer cars on the road
- About 76% of people travel to work in Tauranga in a car on their own, compared to 68% nationwide. (Source: Census 2018)
- World Car Free Day is celebrated in at least 46 countries and more than 2,000 cities around the world. (source: https://carfreemetrodc.org/about-car-free-day/ ).