What if you couldn’t drive? What if taking the bus, riding a bike, walking or asking for rides weren’t a choice you could make, but a necessity? What would it be like getting around without driving yourself?
For people who can drive, and can afford a car, this isn’t something you think about. But for people with disabilities, young people, seniors and people who can’t afford cars or gas — this is their every day.
In 2021 and 2022, leaders in Washington state participated in a Week Without Driving. In 2023, organizations from across the country hosted the first National Week Without Driving. Here on the North Coast, CRTP hosted the Week Without Driving. We challenged elected officials, transportation and planning professionals, activists and advocates to participate, and 30 people took the pledge. Here were the rules:
- You can get around however you want, but the challenge is not to drive yourself in any car. This applies to all your activities — not just your work commute. If you normally transport other family members or friends, it applies to those trips too.
- You can ask someone else to drive you, but make a note of how much you “owe” this person in their time, and if you felt obligated to support them in other ways. You can use taxis or ride hail if they exist where you need to go, but again, think about how the cost could impact your decision to take this trip if this was regularly your only option.
- We’ll provide you with tools to prepare for the Week Without Driving and prompts during the week to reflect on what you’re learning and share with your community and other participants in the Week Without Driving.
- This isn’t a disability simulation or a test of how easily you can find alternatives. We know that it is far easier to give up your keys if you can afford to live in a walkable area well served by transit, or can outsource your driving and other transport and delivery needs to other people. Having to drive during the challenge does not signify failure. The point is to consider how someone without that option would have coped, and what choices they might have made.
How did people do, and what did they learn? Click here to read some reflections from participants in the first National Week Without Driving and see a partial list of who participated.