Car-Free MSP is a regional campaign that encourages individuals to explore sustainable options for trips where they would typically drive alone. The campaign included a pledge to replace one driving trip with a sustainable choice in the month of September, resources, events, and a celebration of World Car-Free Day on September 22nd. While the 2023 Car-Free MSP campaign has now drawn to a close, the small changes made a lasting big difference.
Where People Are Going Car-Free
We asked people where they planned to go on their car-free trip(s), and the responses were, quite literally, all over the place!
From synagogues to Twins’ games, daycare drop-off to the lake, pledgers got creative with their destinations. Jill from Shakopee pledged to carpool to book club, Zachary from Minneapolis pledged to take the bus to the Renaissance Festival, and Josiah from Saint Paul pledged to bike to a friend’s house. It’s easy to stay in the habit of driving to your everyday destinations but asking the question “could I get there another way?” can open new possibilities.
We also asked what options participants would use instead of driving alone. Biking was the most popular response, with bus second, and walking third (selecting more than one option was allowed). Under the “Other” option, participants included Northstar Commuter rail, shared scooters and e-bikes, Evie carshare, and even skateboard!
Small Changes, Big Difference
In addition to expanding awareness of how driving alone isn’t the only option, there are real world implications to the emissions saved by trips that were switched to sustainable options.
Over the month of September 2023:
1,194 people pledged to choose sustainable transportation for at least one trip instead of driving alone.
Using an average round trip distance of 7 miles, the estimated impact of 1,194 pledges region-wide saves 8,023 pounds of carbon. That’s the equivalent of what 167 mature trees can absorb in one year!
More trips taken with sustainable options means cleaner air for our communities, in addition to many other benefits like fun, freedom, physical activity, and financial savings.
Celebrating With the Whole World
The Car-Free MSP campaign was inspired by World Car-Free Day, which is celebrated annually around the globe on September 22nd. The Minneapolis-St Paul region joined the world in celebrating the day by hosting a party in a park with over 100 community members arriving via sustainable transportation. The event featured sustainable transportation exhibitors, city and transit system leaders, family friendly lawn games, a delicious taco bar, and a welcoming committee to cheer attendees upon arrival.
Group transit and bike rides led by TMO members and community organizations brought people to the party, and remarks from Metro Transit leadership thanked people for participating in the event and the Car-Free MSP campaign throughout September.
Car-Free MSP Pledgers Take Home an E-Bike, Bike Lights, and More!
One of the perks of taking the Car-Free MSP pledge, beyond learning about sustainable transportation options, was the chance to win fabulous prizes.
Karl H. of Minneapolis was randomly selected as the winner of a Jamis E-bike. Karl pledged to bike, walk, and bus to shopping, work, and the park. He even took the bus to pick up his e-bike prize so that he could ride it home right away! Karl said his wife will love being able to use this new e-bike to commute to downtown Minneapolis.
Katia C. of Chaska was randomly selected as the winner of a set of Nite Rider bike lights. Katia pledged to bus, bike, and walk to school. She replaces short car trips with walking when possible, as it gets her outside in the fresh air. She also does a lot of walking on the Normandale campus, where she is a nursing student.
Carol O. of Richfield was randomly selected as the winner of a gift basket including a GoTo card, tote bag, and more. Carol pledged to walk and carpool to shopping and the park. She lives very near a Metro Transit D Line station, and was excited to learn to use the GoTo card on the bus and light rail.