In the “Better Without Cars” Campaign, drivers were voluntarily encouraged to leave their cars at home on Thursdays, by offering discounts and special prices.
This project resulted from the joint cooperation between the city of Almada and the cities of Granada and Gijón in Spain, in the framework of a EU funded project (SAVE Programme). The aim of this project was to raise the awareness of the population, to achieve a decrease in the consumption of energy in urban transport through the rationalisation of the use of the private car and greater use of public transport. This project entailed the set up of a considerable awareness-raising campaign and motivated the debate around the issue of sustainable mobility and car use in the city, involving the drivers in the solution of problem.
In the “Better Without Cars” Campaign drivers were voluntarily encouraged to leave their cars at home one fixed day per week – Thursdays. In return, they were given several incentives, from special public transport tickets with a reduced price, to discounts for cultural and sporting activities, as well as for several shops in Almada. Eligible participants included all residents of the Municipality of Almada as well as non-residents who worked within the Municipality.
13 registration offices have been created within the Municipality. All the public transport operators (bus, train and boat) and one of the two taxi associations of Almada were been involved. The price reductions ranged from 17 to 30% of the normal ticket price for access to public transport and several sport, retail and cultural activities.
The approximate budget for the project implementation and marketing was 75 000,00€, of which part was the City Council own resources.
Evidence of success
After the first six months,~100 persons had signed a commitment certificate. The number of adhering shops (~20) was acceptable, but it took a strong marketing effort to motivate shop owners to join the project. A survey showed that nearly 60% of the population of Almada was aware of its existence and, among these, 70% considered this Campaign to be adequate to its purposes. The campaign raised the debate around the issue of mobility and measures required to improve it.
The number of adhering shops was acceptable, but it took a strong marketing effort to motivate shop owners to join the project. The most difficult barrier, or challenge, facing this project is the extreme reluctance of drivers to leave their cars at home, even for only one day of the week.
Potential for learning or transfer
This campaign is a very easy project to replicate in other cities, since it does not require expensive or complex means to be run.
In Almada, the project involved the initial creation of 13 registration offices within the Municipality, namely in the Municipal Environmental House, in each of the 11 parishes and in the Municipal Sports Complex, the creation of an image, a specific regulation, a database with the participants and, of course, contacts with the supporting entities.
After six months, the campaign was reorganized and some aspects have been changed to make the campaign easier to manage with the available human and financial resources available. Therefore, other cities, which eventually decide to organise a similar campaign, can profit from Almada’s field experience.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.