France repeats ‘car-free day’ and invites other countries to participate
The French Environment Ministry plans to hold another "in town without my car?" day next September, following the success of last year's event.
Last 22 September, 34 French towns participated in the event, where citizens were encouraged to take alternative transport. According to the results of an official survey, 89% of French people said that were satisfied with the initiative, and 81% said they would like to see it repeated and extended to other towns.
Atmospheric pollution (CO, NO, N02) was found to have been reduced by 40-50% around participating towns. Noise was reduced by half, which was the affect most appreciated by the public.
On average, there was a 14% reduction in automobile traffic in favour of walking or cycling, and a 10% increase in the use of public transport.
This year more towns and cities will be asked to join in on Wednesday 22 September. Towns will be expected to promote a certain theme, such as cycling, car sharing, or cleaner delivery vehicles. The day will also be used to by towns with over 100,000 inhabitants to test their ‘Urban Transportation Plans’, which must be approved by the end to 1999.
France has invited other European countries to participate in the day, and, according to the Environment Ministry, Italy, Spain, Denmark and the UK have already expressed their intention to join in.