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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.

b.fenton's picture
Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 03/01/2019
London Launches 5-Year Plan To Entice More People To Fall In Love With Cycling

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today joined London’s cycling and walking commissioner Will Norman at a new-build protected cycleway in the Outer London borough of Enfield for the launch of the capital’s Cycling Action Plan. This five-year plan sets out the timescale for tripling the number of protected cycleways since Khan came to office and also reveals new quality standards for cycling infrastructure.

Norman told Forbes: “We have a climate-change emergency, a toxic air crisis, an inactivity crisis in London, and with a significant growth [in population] that’s coming it is only going to exacerbate these challenges – so, the Mayor’s [earlier] transport strategy set out the way we need to make changes to the way we move around our city to cleaner, greener, more efficient modes of transport. And cycling is a critical part of it.”

Read the full article here.

(photo: Transport for London)

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Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 16/10/2018

May 20-24, 2019, the Cycling Embassy of Denmark is hosting its 5th Bikeable City Masterclass.

The masterclass targets urban planners, decision makers, and others who want to acquire knowledge and concrete tools on how to promote cycling or improve conditions for cyclists in their country or city.

During the 5-day masterclass, leading Danish experts from academics, consultancies, and city administration will give the participants know-how of integrating cycling in sustainable mobility policies and climate goals, cycle infrastructure design, road safety, multi-modal transport, and city logistics as well as cycle education and promotion. They will also work with the participants to translate Danish solutions to their local contexts.

Deadline for signing up is February 1, 2019 – or December 1, 2018 for early bird. For further information please see the attached flyer or go to:

(photo: City of Copenhagen/Troels Heien)

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Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 13/08/2018

Key roads across Edinburgh will be closed to traffic once a month in a Scottish first, while the public will be asked what they think of radical plans to potentially restrict vehicles in the city centre.


Councillors today agreed to approve the roll-out of its Open Streets programme on the first Sunday of every month between 10am and 5pm – despite concerns from the Conservatives that a “more cautious and data-driven approach” should be taken.

Plans for a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) could “leave a legacy” for future generations as the council will carry out an eight-week public consultation on how to shape the future of transport in Edinburgh. A prospectus outlining three visions, including a radical approach where the city centre would be “largely traffic-free”, will form the start of a long consultation process with the public.

No decision has been taken yet on which roads will close in the Open Streets programme, which will also act as a test for any future restrictions on vehicles in certain parts of the city. The closures could include “key parts of the city centre and town centres” across the Capital. The council’s eight town centres are Corstorphine, Gorgie and Dalry, Leith and Leith Walk, Morningside and Bruntsfield, Nicolson Street and Clerk Street, Portobello, Stockbridge and Tollcross.

Project director Daisy Narayanan said the monthly traffic closures would “help us understand what happens” when parts of the city are shut off to vehicles. She said: “All these ideas have to be tested for when we come back with a more concrete package. Where we are today is hugely exciting and we are ready to go to the public with some bold and realistic ideas.”

Green Cllr Chas Booth welcomed the bold proposals, but called for a “hybrid approach” to the LEZ plans, so that areas outside the city centre are also included. Liberal Democrat Cllr Gillian Gloyer agreed, raising worries drivers could end up “dumping polluting vehicles on the periphery of the city”.

Conservatives voted against moving forward the plans for regular Open Streets days, citing a lack of evidence of road closures to air pollution levels. Cllr Nick Cook called for a “high level of public confidence” in the plans and an “assurance that this is what the public and businesses want”.

He said: “We are in a situation where we are using anecdotal evidence.” The council will bring forward proposals later in the year for which routes could be closed.

Vice transport and environment convener, Cllr Karen Doran, said: “There’s no doubt that for many years the city has been crying out for change.” The first Open Streets events could take place early next year.

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Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 17/04/2018
Lightning Fast, Dirt Cheap: Five Tips From SF’s Protected Bike Lane Projects

f you’d like to cut the project time of a new protected bike lane by 90 percent and the cost by 75 percent, Mike Sallaberry has some advice.

A senior transportation engineer for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Sallaberry has a short piece in the new issue of ITE Journal sharing useful details on three projects in 2016 and 2017 that used the “quick-build” method. Instead of spending two years getting every detail right and then pouring permanent curbs, SFMTA built first — using paint, plastic and removable concrete islands — and asked questions both before and after.

The result, as Sallaberry explains, is a potentially more inclusive public process and a project that’s far more efficient.

“Common practice in San Francisco has been to identify the ideal result then wait for design, funding, contracting and construction to deliver the design,” says Sallaberry. “While this makes sense for many situations, a new approach was used recently where intermediate designs were implemented in the near term to act as ‘stepping stones’ to a longer term design.”

Maybe most important, the inherent flexibility of the quick-build approach makes it institutionally easier for a public agency to innovate. Without so much “fear of installing something that does not work,” Sallaberry explains, city staff feel free “to try new ideas to solve challenging issues.”

Read the whole article here:

Photo: Jeremy Menzies, SFMTA.

b.fenton's picture
Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 15/01/2018

The Cycling Embassy of Denmark is offering a masterclass in Copenhagen and Odense in May 2018. It targets policy and decision makers, urban planners, NGOs, and others. Participants will get to experience the Danish cycle culture and get first-hand experience with Danish cycle solutions in Copenhagen and Odense. They will obtain knowledge and concrete tools on how to promote cycling or improve conditions for cyclists in their country or city.

A group discount is being offered, so if a group of 4 people registers and pay collectively, they will get a free pass or a 25 % discount for all four passes. The deadline for signing up is March 26, 2018. (If anyone is interested in signing up with a group and saving, feel free to respond to this message and we can try to get a group together here.)

You can find more information about the program and how to register on the Cycling Embassy of Denmark website.

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Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 08/09/2017

Dear Car-Independent Lifestylists,

I just wanted to send a reminder to those of you who haven't had a chance to do it yet: it would be great if you could take about 5-10 minutes to fill out our short questionnaire about data availability on walking and cycling and on the acceptance of walking and cycling as modes of transport. It will help to give us a better overview of the situation in cities across Europe. Of course we'll share the results here in the group as well as at the CIVITAS Forum in September. The survey is here. If you could complete it by 13 September, that would be super!! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Many thanks!!

Bonnie (

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Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 07/08/2017

Hello car-independent people,

The FLOW, TRACE and EMPOWER projects are teaming up to look at the role of data for non-motorised modes of transport at the CiViTAS Forum in September. In preparation for it, we'd like to know which of the below questions would be of the most interest to you. If you have other data-related questions about walking and/or cycling, we'd be happy to hear those too.

  • What sources of data do cities have available to them on non-motorised modes?
  • How do you know if your data is good?
  • How does/could non-motorised travel data change bicycle/pedestrian transport planning?
  • To what extent does the data gap implicitly set the agenda in mobility planning?
  • How can data be used for decision making? What about data protection?
  • What else is needed to unlock the potential of non-motorised travel data (i.e. baseline data)
  • How important is user-based data for planning?
  • Can digitalisation resolve the conflict between robust appraisal and expensive data collection?
  • Can digitally collected data address current problems, or is it a sexy ‘solution looking for a problem’?
  • How do behaviour change campaigns and data for planning fit together?
  • How can you ensure that data is collected with a reliable method and gives an accurate picture of the real situation?

Feel free to share your thoughts by responding to this post.

And a reminder, we'd be pleased if you could fill out our questionnaire on the types of data you have in your city on walking and cycling. It should just take about 5 minutes and is available here.

Many thanks!


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Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 07/08/2017

There is much talk about (car) congestion and the costs that has, but here's another perspective: the pedestrian pain index estimates that the annual value of time lost waiting to walk totals $25 billion annually in the United States. Of course the numbers would vary from country to country but the basic premise applies universally:


Every day, tens of millions of Americans waste tens of thousands of hours stuck waiting on the side of streets for car traffic to get out of their way. We estimate that the annual value of time lost waiting to walk totals $25 billion annually.

Today, City Observatory announces the launch of our latest data product: the Pedestrian Pain Index (PPI). Following the techniques developed over the past thirty years by the highway-oriented Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), PPI uses similar methods and assumptions —to calculate the amount of time pedestrians lose each year having to wait their turn to cross streets to allow cars to proceed.

Read the rest of the article here.

photo: Billie Grace Ward, Flickr

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Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 21/07/2017

There's an interesting new study out of Seville looking at the quality vs. the quantity of cycle infrastructure. Here are the first few lines. The rest can be read at the link below. If anyone from Seville happens to be in this group, it would be great to hear from you.



Which is more important to making a city great for biking: the number of high-quality bikeways, or whether they're connected to each other?

A new study from Spain offers an unexpected answer: The amount of biking actually tracks most closely with the number of bikeways, while the safety of biking tracks most closely with the connectedness of bikeways.

But if you want lots of people biking safely, you eventually need both.

The paper is unique because it draws on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to measure what happens when a big city that has very little biking makes a sudden, massive investment in a biking network.

Read the rest of the article here.

Photo: Claudio Olivares Medina.

b.fenton's picture
Submitted by Bonnie Fenton on 20/07/2017

Dear Car-Independent Lifestyle group members,

In preparation for a presentation at the CIVITAS Forum in Torres Vedras in September, we've put together a small questionnaire about data availability on walking and cycling and on the acceptance of walking and cycling as modes of transport. It would be great if you could take about 5-10 minutes to complete it so that we have a good overview of the situation in cities across Europe. Of course we'll share the results here in the group as well as at the CIVITAS Forum in September. The survey is here. If you could complete it before 8 September, that would be great!! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Many thanks!!


Bruges is ambitious. Although it is already an established cycling city with a high modal share of 42 per cent, it aspires to become Belgium’s leading cycling city. CIVITAS Handshake is helping it do so.

Author: Richard Adams
07/04/2020 - 18:14

Through CIVITAS PORTIS, five European port cities are innovating and implementing solutions to drive a shift towards sustainable mobility and away from private car usage.

Author: Adrienne Kotler
07/04/2020 - 15:40

A forthcoming series of webinars from CIVITAS PORTIS will look at how to achieve mobility behaviour change. The first of these will take place on 30 April.

06/04/2020 - 10:49

A new online portal launched in Stockolm (Sweden) is giving citizens information on mobility services, car sharing and ridesharing. It has been created as part of CIVITAS ECCENTRIC.

Author: Esther Kreutz
30/03/2020 - 10:19

What followed were three days of vigorous debate, deliberation and exchange among the project’s six local authority and ten technical partners. Working across six co-creation laboratories, they are laying the foundations for a new generation of SUMP cities and putting sustainable mobility at the...

Author: Richard Adams
27/03/2020 - 17:39
A new series of webinars from CIVITAS PORTIS will explore how to foster a change in mobility behaviour patterns and a shift towards the use of more sustainable modes. The project's five cities - Aberdeen (UK), Antwerp (Belgium), Constanta (Romania), Klaipeda (Lithuania) and Trieste (Italy) - are se...
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18/05/2020 to 20/05/2020
Szeged is a pioneering city in Hungary with regards to mobility management. The city is also the National Network Manager for the Hungarian CIVINET Network. Over the past 15 years, Szeged has implemented several mobility solutions. This includes establishing traffic calming zones; improving cycling...
01/06/2020 to 02/06/2020
*** Due to the ongoing public health crisis across Europe and beyond, this event has been provisionally postponed until this autumn. Information on the new dates will be made available in due course.*** The three CIVITAS Living Lab projects – DESTINATIONS, ECCENTRIC and PORTIS – invite you to join t...
24/06/2020 to 26/06/2020
This study visit to Vinnytsia (Ukraine) provides an exciting opportunity to go to the winner of the CIVITAS Bold Measure award in 2019. The main themes central covered in the trip will be collective passenger transport, integrated planning and safety and security. Participants will be able to enjoy...
15/09/2020 to 18/09/2020
Velo-City is the world's premier cycling summit, focusing on cycling infrastructure, bicycle innovations, bicycle safety and the social and cultural changes driven by cycling. Velo-City will:
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29/09/2020 to 01/10/2020
From 29 September to 1 October 2020, the European Commission is hosting its first Urban Mobility Days conference in Brussels. Its theme is “zero-emission mobility for all“.
Webinar capacity has now been reached and registration is closed. If you did not book a place, don't worry! The webinar will be recorded and published on YouTube.
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After over three years of working with local authorities and policymakers across Europe to accelerate the uptake of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs), SUMPs-Up is slowly drawing to a close. Before it does, it is organising a final event to share its wide-ranging results and multitude of SUMP...
Increasing safety for unprotected road users: examples from strategy, policy and collaboration in Stockholm and CIVITAS ECCENTRIC Policymakers and experts are invited to a workshop focusing on how to increase safety for unprotected road users using simple and low-cost methods.
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Background School streets and street openings are an effective way to create child friendly cities and neighborhoods. However, it is not always easy to consult the different stakeholders involved, and plan for these interventions so that they have wider impact. Content
Background The air pollution and traffic congestion generated by cars and other motorised vehicles is a major concern for our cities and the citizens who live in them. But how do we address some of these concerns, and what can we do to re-create our cities so they are geared more around people and l...


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