No wonder car-free day is challenging
September 22 is World Car Free Day, and we’ve decided to make it an annual celebration for our company. We spent years engineering VOOMcart for that exact reason — to replace the car trunk for running errands in walkable neighbourhoods.
One main objective of Car Free Day is to promote active transportation in so-called 15-minute cities, which means everything you need (food, healthcare, schools, green spaces - even work! ) should be within a 15-20 minute walk or bike ride from your home. But more than half of all car trips are walkable distances is no surprise, and it is no wonder we need a National Day to inspire change. In North America, we have been totally immersed in car culture since the early 1950s. As Antonia Malchik succinctly writes in her book A Walking Life, “we need to re-engineer walking back into our lives.”
Three main spheres of influence must work together to shift our ingrained habit of grabbing the keys to run errands and to make car-free living viable.
1 - First, urban design needs to be human scale and, as the famed architect Jan Gehl says, focus on ‘the life between buildings.'
2 - Secondly, urban planning needs to support and endorse policies that prioritize people, not cars and ensure people feel safe when cycling or walking.
3 - Car alternatives need to be appealing.
Progress towards the goal of encouraging more active transportation is tangible. The 15-minute city concept has gone from an obscure planning framework to a pervasive catchphrase among property developers and was a cornerstone of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s election campaign. Car-free developments are popping up; a shining example is Culdesac in Arizona. And cities all over the world are adopting ‘Complete Streets’ and sustainability policies, which serve to enhance active transportation.
But ...What good is it to be happily nested in a 15-minute walkable city without an effective way to transport more than 20 lbs on foot?
Innovation has neglected the most ancient form of transportation.
Active transportation refers almost entirely to biking and walking. Bikers have a range of helpful innovations to help transport cargo but consider the options for pedestrians. Pulling a heavy load behind you can lead to injury, and loading a vacuous bag is cumbersome, inefficient and often leads to precious groceries being crushed. No wonder we do not crave that utilitarian walk to the grocery store.
Our mission behind inventing VOOMcart was to make walking with a heavy load easy and fun! Its two collapsible bins are designed to hold up to 70 pounds, and they pop off so you can unload them right from the kitchen counter. It is lightweight and folds up easily to fit in a condo closet. Once people are armed with the right tools, then maybe we don't need a National Day to promote leaving the car behind - it will simply become a way of life. We believe that the rewards of walking efficiently while being productive will keep people coming back!
" Walking is the closest thing we have to a wonderdrug .
Walking releases endorphins, and studies show that 30 minutes of daily walking cuts the risk of heart disease by up to half and reduces the risk of some cancers, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. Additionally, we connect with our community, shop locally, and reduce our carbon footprint.
Who wouldn’t want to swap their car for a walk to run errands if it can be done in a dignified manner?
To honour World Car Free Day, we are celebrating with a giveaway! We want to give more people the tools they need to be able to #walkyourshop!
The contest begins on Instagram @voomcart on September 14 and ends on World Car Free Day
OR enter to win at IQ Living in Toronto, All Eco in Ottawa, or through the Downtown Kingston Business Association.
VOOMcart is also very excited to announce a partnership to encourage active transportation with the Downtown Kingston BIA with our first courtesy-cart pilot program. Starting September 6th.
Retail locations include Toronto - I.Q. Living and Leaside Canadian Tire, Ottawa: ALL ECO in The Glebe; Picton: The Fireplace Store