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Study finds overwhelming results after drivers ditch cars for 3 weeks: 'Illustrates the extent of change needed in society'

"This project shows many benefits."

"This project shows many benefits."

Photo Credit: iStock

Did you know that ditching your car for just three weeks could significantly improve your well-being and help fight climate change at the same time?

A recent study conducted by the University of Bath's Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) reveals the powerful benefits of going car-free.

The study followed 12 drivers in Oxford, England, who gave up their cars for a three-week challenge. Remarkably, 10 out of the 12 participants said they plan to continue reducing their car use even after the study ended. Some are considering giving up car ownership entirely, according to Medical Xpress.

By living car-free, the participants slashed their daily transportation pollution by an impressive 53% on average. Some nearly eliminated their transport-related CO2 pollution altogether.

But the benefits went beyond shrinking their carbon footprints.

As Dr. Claire Hoolohan, co-investigator at CAST, explained: "This project shows many benefits, including a sense of connectedness to the outside world, more social opportunities, more time to relax, and more autonomy.

"It also illustrates the extent of change needed in society to enable car-free living."

Many participants reported feeling healthier, happier, and more connected to their local community and environment. Others enjoyed more relaxation time and a sense of pride in fighting air pollution and rising global temperatures.

As a bonus, some even saved money.

The study highlights how a bit of support, like information on alternative travel options and encouragement from others, can help people make lasting changes.

Of course, ditching your car isn't always easy. The study participants faced various challenges and barriers. That's why the researchers are calling on governments to invest in reliable, affordable public transportation, safe bike infrastructure, and support for people with mobility issues.

There is a need for, as Hoolohan stated, "improving local infrastructure for active travel, accessible and affordable public transport services, and wraparound support such as training, financial support, and repair services for people new to traveling without a car."

So, next time you're heading out, why not see if you can get there without getting behind the wheel? With a little creativity and the right support, you might find that living car-free or car-light feels pretty great — for you and the planet.

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