Try leaving your car at home for Edinburgh’s World Car Free Day

Image of people walking and cycling in Holyrood Park

Edinburgh is set to join over 2,000 cities across the globe to celebrate World Car Free Day with a free, community-focused event supported by The City of Edinburgh Council and organised by Crexcell.

As a mark of respect following the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Edinburgh’s Car Free Day has been postponed (from the official date, today, Thursday, 22 September), and will now be staged on Waverley Bridge on Sunday, 2 October, between 11am and 7pm.

Waverley Bridge will be transformed into an inclusive community hub of information, inspiration and activity encouraging people to consider alternatives to car travel in Edinburgh. The city's public transport operators, cycling and environmental campaigners, active travel and public safety organisations are all taking part.

The Council has set an ambitious target to reduce distances travelled by car in Edinburgh by 30% over the next decade, as well as achieving Net Zero status by 2030. With transport being one of the biggest carbon emission contributors, Edinburgh's World Car Free Day event will encourage people to consider more sustainable modes of transport for their everyday journeys. It will raise awareness of the the options available across the city, promote the health and wellbeing benefits of active travel and offer the essential information and support people need to commit to long-term change.

Amongst those already signed up to attend are Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams, who play a significant role in reducing reliance on more carbon intensive forms of transport by providing a quick, convenient and reliable alternative to driving. Members of the team will be at Waverley Bridge to chat about their services, including Park and Ride options, and the vast opportunities for - and the benefits of using - public transport. Police Scotland will offer support to cyclists and walkers with cycle security and personal safety advice, bike marking and general crime prevention information.

The Bike Station, which inspires new cyclists by selling reliable and affordable upcycled bikes, will be on hand to offer bike safety checks and bikes to try out. The team will have information on safe cycle routes throughout the city, and bike to work and cycle-friendly employer schemes.

There will also be a hosted reception and information point, additional bike parking, a wellbeing area with health and fitness demonstrations and classes and a chill-out zone. Local singers and bands including Sara Forshaw, Folk Drama, and The Wispz will provide the musical entertainment throughout the day.

World Car Free Day is a worldwide initiative to encourage motorists to reset how they think about travel and use more sustainable transport. It promotes the improvement of public transport, cycling and walking, and the development of healthier, greener neighbourhoods where jobs are closer to home and where shopping is within a short walk, wheel or cycle from home.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said:

Choosing more sustainable modes of transport like bus, tram, bike or walking over the car not only benefits the world around us, but can have a really positive impact on our health and quality of life. Car Free Day gives us the chance to focus on these benefits, and to help people consider how they might try alternative ways to travel.

The Council has set some ambitious goals to reduce car kms travelled by 30% in the next decade, as well as delivering on our 20-minute neighbourhood vision to enable a net zero Edinburgh where everyone can live well locally. We need to rethink the way we move around the city to meet these targets. I would encourage people to come along on 2 October to find out more about the different ways we can travel around the capital.

Neil Booth, Edinburgh Trams’ Safety Manager (Environment), added:

Car-free days provide a massive opportunity for cities to raise awareness of how pollution affects our lives, and highlight how congested roads can be used in different ways.

At Edinburgh Trams we are fully committed to helping to make Edinburgh healthier, safer and more attractive for both residents and visitors by providing a quick, convenient and reliable alternative to driving into the city centre.

Edinburgh’s ten-year City Mobility Plan aims to transform the way we move around the city, reducing emissions and air pollution, positively impacting public health and tackling congestion amongst other benefits. Actions include projects like City Centre Transformation, Trams to Newhaven, George Street and First New Town, 20-Minute Neighbourhoods, Low Emission Zone and the extension of 20mph speed limits, as well as behaviour change initiatives and seamless public transport ticketing.

Find out more on the Council’s Future Edinburgh web pages. 

Published: September 22nd 2022