People use carfree and car-less interchangeably but there is a significant difference — and it comes down to choice.
To be carfree is to make the decision to live without a car — and to be in control. When you’re carfree, you are free of the cost, the stress, all the associated burdens that come with car ownership.
It’s one thing to choose to live without a car — and clearly a very privileged one at that. But it’s something far different and less empowering to be car-less — to want or need a personal vehicle and without the option or ability to own one.
I have never wanted to own, drive, maintain, park, or spend money on a car, so I am happy to be carfree. And I have chosen to only live in cities where I can move around by either public transportation or using my personally-powered transportation — walking or biking.
When you want, need, or are used to having a car but do not — you are car-less.
Perhaps you have a car that was totaled in a crash — you were used to having a car, now you don’t, but you still desire it. You are car-less.
Over 20% of Pittsburgh residents do not own cars, the number for those in lower-income brackets thought to be far higher.
There are many reasons for this — but cost is a huge barrier. Owning, operating, and maintaining a personal vehicle is prohibitively expensive for so many.
In 2019*, the average price tag to own and operate a private vehicle rose a staggering 10% to $10,742 from the 2018 amount of $9,761. That’s according to some page-turning reading from the Department of Labor Statistics. That translates to nearly $900 every single month: $895.17.
While 2020 transportation costs did reverse a bit — due to reduced travel during the pandemic — the hefty price tag to own and operate a private vehicle hovers just under $10k — $9,826, which works out to $818.83 a month.
It is not only a shame that so many people do not have easy ways to get around without a car — but it’s also an embarrassment for one of the wealthiest countries on the planet.
One of the primary goals of my exciting new role — and my life — was to make it absolutely effortless for everyone to gain access to greater economic opportunities, fun, and nature.
I was working to make it a breeze for everyone to easily get around — even those used to driving — without hopping in their expensive private boxes.
It still blows my mind to think that 23% of car trips in Pittsburgh are less than one mile, and 50% of trips are less than three miles!
How is it possible — in this country often touted for innovation in so many fields — that we still base our transportation systems on the antiquated concept that individuals must purchase their own transportation devices?
Something must be done. Let’s do it — if we care about the future we’re leaving for our children and our children’s children: we’re running out of time.
I’ve spent a good deal of that time obsessively thinking, scheming, and striving to make it safe, pleasant, and desirable for everyone to have the same option to live well without needing a private vehicle.
Everyone deserves the choice to be free.