Each year, people in over 1,500 cities in 40 countries celebrate World Carfree Day. This annual event aims to raise awareness of the problems caused by our dependence on private cars. Streets are closed to traffic and opened instead to street parties, theatre, bicycle demonstrations or outdoor cafés, in order to show people what their city might look like if there were fewer or no cars. Over one hundred million people are believed to take part in the celebrations, although this figure is difficult to verify.
The hope is that the initiative will encourage more environmentally friendly alternatives to the car, such as walking, cycling and public transport. However , with increasing global car production and a world which has grown used to the benefits of private transport, some say the battle is already lost. But even if we are unlikely to see cities without any cars at all, people may at least begin to change their habits and leave their car at home more often. (by V.R.)