• Darragh Murphy

CAR-FREE WITH GEN Z -- CELEBRATING WORLD CAR FREE DAY WITH UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO STUDENTS


SEPTEMBER 22ND IS WORLD CAR-FREE DAY. LET'S WALK THE TALK WITH VOOMCART


In celebration and excited anticipation of World Free Car Day, September 22nd, VOOMcart decided to check in with the newest generation of influencers and socially-aware students, Gen Z. Identified as having been born after the year 2000, we were already aware that they are the most tech-savvy kids we’ve ever encountered. But we were happy to discover that Gen Z is just as hyper-focused on the environment as they are on innovative technology.


At the University of Toronto campus, we were delighted to interview 3 students who were no strangers to the benefits of car-free living. None of them own cars, nor do they anticipate the need for doing so in the near future.


The three friends and roommates met last year while in residence during their first year of studies at Trinity College. When they decided to share an apartment together for their second academic year, of paramount importance to them was the ability to be able to walk to school daily. Unsure of whether their classes would be online, or in person, they all spend large amounts of time in the school’s vast Robarts Library — their second home. So online or not, they want to be able to get to Robarts on foot.


And they succeeded. Their cozy apartment is just a few blocks from campus and they couldn’t be happier about that. When we asked them about what World Car Free Day meant to them, we were impressed and in total agreement with their thoughts.





We were curious about how representative of today these three teens are. We, at Team VOOMcart, are all about urban walkability, active transportation, and walking our shop locally. But truth be told, we still do need our cars. How else would we get the kids with their oversize bags to hockey practice? And what about our favourite weekends tasting wine (and carting home the cases of our favourite vintages) in Prince Edward County? For our generation, Gen X, we are still car people by necessity, and hopefully, if we are honest, not too much by habit. But it’s delightful to think that Gen Z is organically car-free.


A recent report from Lang Marketing highlighted a whole new identifier to set Gen Z apart from the Millennials and us (Gen X). Their report found that more than 40 percent of 16 to 18-year-olds do not drive at all. Consider, in comparison, that in 1983, more than 86 percent of 19-year-old Baby Boomers had their driver’s license.


A majority of Gen Z are concerned about the environmental impacts of operating a vehicle. Environmental concerns and climate change are two of the three top concerns of people in their age group. They are consciously choosing not to contribute to the larger issues of pollution.


When we asked the University of Toronto students that question — “Why do you think Generation Z doesn’t drive or own a car?” They seemed to reiterate what we had unearthed in the study. Their lifestyle in downtown, walkable, community doesn’t require a car. They walk most places, shop with their VOOMcart, and when necessary, jump on the TTC. (Toronto Transit Commission responsible for providing public transit to the city of Toronto).


The University of Toronto students we spoke to — Shiva, Stefania, and Emmeline — are clearly representative of what we know to be true about Gen Z. It’s reassuring to us to know that the generations coming behind us, have quite literally, got our planet Earth’s back.


In honour of World Car Free Day, we would like to challenge you, our VOOMers, to leave the car at home for the day. Take the subway or ride your bike to work, or work from home. Walk to the corner store to get last-minute dinner ingredients. We would love to see what you choose to do so please share your pics and tag us @voomcart #WorldCarFreeDay


Let’s make World Car Free Day on September 22nd a cause to celebrate our planet!