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Car-independent Lifestyles

Activities and solutions promoting walking, cycling, multi-modal travel, car sharing, bike sharing and carpooling

We need to reduce dependency on the private car  in order to make cities safer, more attractive and economically viable places to live, work and spend leisure time.

This thematic group focusses on the basics of sustainable urban mobility: creating safe and attractive places to walk and cycle. It also looks at measures and solutions which seek to make more efficient and sustainable use of the car through carpoolingcar sharing and bike sharing.  

Carpooling (also called ride sharing or lift sharing or sometimes - confusingly! - car sharing) involves two or more people travelling together in a car (usually owned by the driver of the vehicle) to a shared destination, whereas car sharing allows different people access to the use of a fleet of vehicles (normally owned and maintained by a private company or a cooperative) by booking a vehicle for a defined period of time. Each works best in a different context (urban vs. suburban/rural), addresses different issues (urban space issues vs. pollution and congestion) and serves a different target audience (those who don’t need a car for regular daily journeys vs. those who depend on a car for daily use).

Bike sharing schemes involve making bikes available to the public for short-term use, usually in urban areas. Bike share stations are a visible sign that bikes are welcome in a city. Bike sharing schemes can be part of a package of measures that serves to encourage cycling as a means of transportation in a city.

More information

Feel free to take a look at the cities and organisations that are members of this thematic group and view resources for members below. To join the group, click on the banner on the right-hand side on this page. For more information, contact Bonnie Fenton, the group moderator.

regina.luedert's picture
Submitted by Regina Lüdert on 23/02/2016

Mayor Kuhn explains the concept of climate protection to school children


Short summary of the project ‘I am a climate hero’ project

Walking makes a difference!
Teaching mobility at Stuttgart’s primary schools

During the months of October and November 2015, 332 primary school children from 4 schools took part in the ‘I am a climate hero’ project in Stuttgart/Germany.

15 primary school classes attended the mobility training and the cost of 10 classes was covered by the Activity Fund of the EU network CIVITAS. The project was led by Regina Lüdert of the Environmental Protection Office. It was developed by Stephanie Esch of the raumstadt_architektur agency.

During the course of three double lessons, the school children participate in experiments and educational games to learn what climate change means and how we can protect the climate and the environment in our everyday lives. The children also collected ‘walking points’ by completing journeys on foot instead of by car. The aim was to reduce traffic in the area around the school and increase awareness of environmental issues among the children.

The parents of the school children also got involved in the campaign through a family contract. The contract stipulated climate protection measures which the family could implement in their everyday lives.

A comparison of all 4 primary schools in terms of environmentally-friendly journeys to school at the project start and project end:

All of the participating primary schools were able to increase their environmentally-friendly journeys to school (on foot or by bike, bus and train) by an average of 5%. The greatest improvement was documented at the Reisachschule at 7%. The 4% improvement at the Wolfbuschschule school is also very pleasing to see because this is a bilingual German/Italian primary school with lots of foreign students.

Concluding comments

The children were very enthusiastic about the project. After some initial scepticism, the parents were also happy to support their children in their endeavours and seek out ways of helping to protect the climate as a family.

The cheers were unbelievable when the children were awarded a certificate with their total number of points and a T-shirt with the words ‘I am a climate hero’. Each child can now feel like a genuine climate expert because they know much more about protecting the climate and can do something to help, including in the future.

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Submitted by Sarah Martens on 08/02/2016

The City of Los Angeles in the USA has introduced its very first multimodal trip planner. It is a mobile application called Go LA.

GoLA screenshots

Users can compare trips with different modes. These do not only include the "traditional" modes like public transport, driving&parking, walking and cycling, but also taxis and car-sharing and ride-booking services like Lyft, Uber, Zipcar and FlitWays. The app shares anonymized information about destination and preferred travel mode with the city to support planning and investment decisions.

If I am not mistaken, there are not many apps yet that integrate such a wide range of modes and services. If you know any other good examples, please share them below. 

Submitted by Fred DOTTER on 22/01/2016

With this CIVITAS Insight, the CIVITAS CAPITAL project wants to provide information on bike-sharing and its importance for a sustainable urban mobility.

As we are interested to get your views and ideas by 05 February 2016, all members of this Thematic Group have the possibility to contribute to the content of this CIVITAS Insight. If you are interested to contribute, please send an e-mail to to get access to the CIVITAS Exchange Hub, the location for in-development files.

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Submitted by Caterina Di Bartolo on 22/01/2016

The “sharing” paradigm is shaking up the global economy scenario. People across the world are daily sharing an increasing number of material objects and immaterial services (from clothes and tools to houses, working spaces and also professional skills). This revolution is affecting all the economic sectors, though at a different pace. No doubt the mobility sector is among the ones facing the greatest and revolutionary changes.

Although sharing options have always been available for transport, first with Public Transport and taxis and more recently with car or bike-sharing and car-pooling services, what is happening in these past few years is a radical change in the way all of us could rethink our mobility habits. Thanks to most advanced communication technologies (internet, social media and ITS) and to their integration, is now easier and immediate to find opportunities to share rides, vehicles (cars and bikes) and also parking spaces. Mobility is starting to be considered as a “unique “service and people across European cities are now looking for the best mobility options (and a combination of them), with a flexible approach un-known before.

So, disruptive changes are coming: how cities can adapt and actively react to these changes in order to exploit all the potential benefits of these changes towards the achievement of a sustainable urban mobility?  How transport policies can offer and answer to the needs of people and to their increasing bent to share mobility? Which are the most interesting solutions and good practices have been adopted by cities at the forefront?

Sharing mobility is an hot topic: starting with the past @CIVITAS FORUM 2015 “Sharing the city”, to a number of upcoming events (@ the 3rd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans on 12nd-13rd April 2016 in Bremen and @ECOMM – European Conference on Mobility Management from 1st to 3rd June 2016 in Athens) the theme has been debated and continues to be debated among transport experts, politicians, professionals and representatives from urban, regional and national levels.

CIVITAS WIKI is now drafting a policy note on this topic with the aim to provide a brief but smart tool for cities offering a comprehensive overview on shared-mobility concepts, applications and practices (both the more consolidated and the innovative ones) to support decision/policy makers and urban mobility professionals in mobility planning.

Scope of this collaborative interaction is then to collect further resources, hints and suggestions, links to practical city experiences and, obviously, opinions and comments on this topic.

For sharing your ideas, resources and thoughts on sharing mobility, please contact Simone Bosetti and Caterina Di Bartolo.

SarahMartens's picture
Submitted by Sarah Martens on 11/01/2016

Whoever thought that sharing only works for cyclists, PT users and car drivers, was mistaken. The University of Britisch Columbia in Vancouver, also known as the Rainy City, is offering a free umbrella-sharing service for its students. 

Under the motto "We've got you covered, literally!", umbraCity allows users to borrow and return umbrellas at automated kiosks. Users need to register for a membership card first, but then the service is completely free if you return the umbrella within two days. Broken and damaged umbrellas can still be brought back for free and are recycled into other products, such as shopping bags.


frederixmarjan's picture
Submitted by Marjan Frederix on 04/12/2015

In order to reduce motorised traffic in cities, residents will have to

adopt a lifestyle that relies less on cars. Alternative forms of car use

such as car sharing have the potential to make a valuable contribution

to more sustainable urban mobility. To facilitate this shift in mentality,

cities can promote sharing initiatives and new forms of car use and

ownership. >> Read the insight



Submitted by Fred DOTTER on 02/12/2015

With this CIVITAS Insight, the CIVITAS CAPITAL project wants to emphasise the importance of carpooling.

As we are interested to get your views and ideas by 15 December 2015, all members of this Thematic Group have the possibility to contribute to the content of this CIVITAS Insight. If you are interested to contribute, please send an e-mail to to get access to the CIVITAS Exchange Hub, the location for in-development files.

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With support from CIVITAS DESTINATIONS, cities like Funchal and Rethymno are ensuring that public transportation and cycling support transitions to increasingly car-free lifestyles.

Author: Adrienne Kotler
25/03/2020 - 15:44

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From 29 September to 1 October 2020 in Brussels,  the Urban Mobility Days (UMD) will place clean and sustainable transport in the limelight like no event before.

By gathering leading figures and showcasing top success stories in the field, this will be the ideal place for towns and cities...

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24/06/2020 to 26/06/2020
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29/09/2020 to 01/10/2020
In light of the ongoing uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission's Urban Mobility Days Conference in 2020 will be held as a fully digital event. 
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02/12/2020 to 03/12/2020
Following a record-breaking conference in Brussels, which brought together over 600 participants in November 2019, the 2020 Polis Annual Conference will take place in Arnhem-Nijmegen City Region, Netherlands, on 2-3 December 2020.  The Polis Annual Conference provides an opportunity for cities and...
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CIVITAS QUOTES: Public involvement in the European Cycling Challenge


CIVITAS QUOTES: CIVITAS & Environment - The high potential of walking

Same destination - same vehicle! All about carpooling.

While much of the CIVITAS Initiative’s work has sought to shift travellers out of their cars and onto public transport or bicycle, carpooling involves sharing rides among travellers in the same vehicle going to the same destination. Carpooling can be facilitated through ‘matching’ services, but the shared rides themselves are very casual.

All the other Insights you can find here, under key publications.

The high potential of walking - often underestimated! Read this new insight

For many cities, the overall quality of life for its citizens is of utmost importance. This is not only characterised by a healthy environment, good living conditions and a growing economy, but also by the possibility to travel in a positive way. Walking is an efficient way of using expensive and scarce space in urban areas, and is healthy, clean, cheap and energy efficient. Almost half of all car trips are over distances of less than five kilometers. Therefore, there is enormous potential for walking, already tapped into by pioneering towns and cities.


CIVITAS QUOTES: Share to be less car-dependent


CIVITAS QUOTES: How to rebalance modal share by 2030


CIVITAS QUOTES: Bike Sharing in numbers worldwide


CIVITAS QUOTES: Benefits of cycling

CIVITAS INSIGHT - Accessible mobility: Enabling independent living for all

CIVITAS INSIGHT - Car sharing - New forms of vehicle use and ownership


CIVITAS QUOTES: CIVITAS & Transport - Car sharing

Wiki-Facts and Figures-2015-03

CIVITAS FACTS & FIGURES: Car-Independent Lifestyles measures in CIVITAS PLUS cities (2008-2012)

Policy Recommendations For EU Sustainable Mobility Concepts based on CIVITAS Experience

The Policy Recommendations present the main findings arising from the evaluation of the CIVITAS Plus Collaborative Projects (CPs), which ran from 2008-2012.

This publication was written under the auspices of the CIVITAS POINTER project, which supported five collaborative projects (CP s) implemented within the framework of the third edition of the CIVITAS programme. Evaluation and monitoring were the key stones of CIVITAS POINTER. Drawing from first-hand, corroborated statistical evidence gathered from participating cities, this publication presents the results of the CIVITAS Plus cross-site evaluation and policy assessment. These findings support the development of clear European-level policy recommendations that have the potential for being embraced by all European cities — not just those which make up the CIVITAS community.

The document seeks to identify factors that can boost the effectiveness and consistency of future strategies, thereby securing greater sustainability in urban mobility patterns. Policy makers are provided with contemporary facts for debating purposes, and a number of conclusions and recommendations based on lessons learnt from CIVITAS Plus are put forward.

CIVITAS reaching out to younger generations

CIVITAS Reaching out to younger generations - Sustainable mobility: Cycling in Porto


On the 26th of February 2014 CIVITAS organized a thematic workshop with students of the "Agrupamento de Escolas Alexandre Herculano" in the city of Porto (PT) to promote city cycling among the young generations.

Highlights on car-pooling

Highlights on car-sharing

Policy Advice Note Cycling and Walking

Policy Advice Note Cycling and Walking

Policy Advice Note Cycling and Walking

Policy Advice Note Cycling and Walking

Policy Advice Note Cycling and Walking

Policy Advice Note Cycling and Walking

Policy Advice Note Cycling and Walking

Policy Advice Note Cycling and Walking

Policy Advice Note Alternative Car Use

Policy Advice Note Alternative Car Use

Policy Advice Note Alternative Car Use

Policy Advice Note Alternative Car Use

Policy Advice Note Alternative Car Use

Policy Advice Note Alternative Car Use

Policy Advice Note Alternative Car Use

Policy Advice Note Alternative Car Use

CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE - car independent lifestyles

CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE - car independent lifestyles

CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE - car independent lifestyles

CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE - car independent lifestyles

CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE - car independent lifestyles

CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE - car independent lifestyles

CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE - car independent lifestyles

Cluster Report