Strange carless whispers observed in Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Bangalore

Three cities took on traffic and pollution by organizing car free days in India.


Every year around the 22nd of September, people from around the world gather at streets and intersections to remind the world that traveling without cars is possible. Car free day has gone on to become more than just a token celebration and is now helping create a lasting change by encouraging children, cyclists and pedestrians to roam the streets in numbers.

In India, three cities – Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon observed Car-Free days. HSR Layout in Bangalore had turned this day into a private vehicle-free day on Sunday with no bikes and cars in sight. The occasion led to residents renting BMTC bikes and rode away in the wee hours of the morning. The streets turned into a picnic spot with volunteers milling about with posters throughout the day at traffic signals.


Hyderabad started the Car-Free Thursday initiative in the month of August and since then it has been observed that the campaign has led to a significant reduction in the number of vehicles on the road, and has also increased the number of people using public transport. The aim is to keep one lakh cars off the streets by the end of October on car free days.

cfd1

Image taken from Facebook.

Last year, Delhi was named the dirtiest air in the world as it recorded the highest concentration of particulate matter. The adjoining business hub of Gurgaon looked to prevent such a fate in with its car free day on tuesday. Despite a few hurdles here and there, from 7 am to 7 pm, traffic in the four corridors, DLF Cyber City, Cyber Park, Golf Course Road and Electronic City, had never before been so smooth. Gurgaon can become car-free since the city is well connected with a rapid metro line.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the Haryana government to submit air pollution data to make sense of the actual impact of Gurgaon’s experiment with Car-Free Day on Tuesday. The number of cars had reduced by 10,000 and the particulate matter which stood at 2.5 had come down by 21%. The Gurgaon traffic police plans to observe every Tuesday as ‘Car-Free Day’ and to free the city roads from congestion and encourage people to use alternate modes of transportation.

But what will it take for people to give up the comfort of their AC cars and take a metro to work?

The decision to go car-free one day a week or participating in international Car-Free days has been called a farce by some who took to social media and complained about how cities still faced congestion and how their commute had only become more painful. On account of such grievances, we can only learn from other countries of the world that celebrated the day.

Sunday mornings between 6 am and 11 am is designated as a "car-free day" in Jakarta, Indonesia, where the city closes off some major thoroughfares so that people can enjoy a stroll or bike their way across town. via Flickr killerturnip

Sunday mornings between 6 am and 11 am is designated as a “car-free day” in Jakarta, Indonesia, where the city closes off some major thoroughfares so that people can enjoy a stroll or bike their way across town.
via Flickr killerturnip

Administrative bodies in Spain, for instance, have declared that the parking areas will be free on the day and anyone using the car parks will be given a return bus ticket. In Bangkok, the road from in front of the Grand Palace had turned into a walking street for medical check-ups, occupational training and concerts. Our roads are replete of potholes and most of them do not even have street lights making them extremely pedestrian unfriendly. There is a lot that we can learn from cities like Brussels, Vienna and Leeds that have gone car-free and inculcated a sense of sustainable urban mobility.


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