compiled by
World Carfree Network's International Coordination Centre

Comments on our selection of "Freesources" are gratefully received at info(at)worldcarfree.net. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this page.



Car-Free Development

(Module 3e of the "Sourcebook for Policy-Makers in Developing Cities," by Lloyd Wright, GTZ, 2005)

More than 170 pages covering a range of issues around car-free development, including an overview of worldwide car-free activities (e.g. car-free days, car-free housing, large-scale pedestrianisation), an outline of project implementation processes and a listing of car-free resources, including information resources and funding opportunities.
   This document has been developed under GTZ's Sustainable Urban Transport Project and is part of the "Sustainable Urban Transport Sourcebook for Policymakers in Developing Cities." This and all other - at present - 22 modules of the Sourcebook are available from the GTZ SUTP project website at www.sutp.org after a quick registration process.
[PDF, 16MB]

Car-Free Housing in European Cities

(A Survey of Sustainable Residential Development Projects, by Jan Scheurer, ISTP, 2000

This research on carfree and car-lite housing development was part of a PhD project investigating the contribution urban ecology, community and mobility management innovations in residential neighbourhoods can make towards the sustainable transformation of our cities. The paper looks at projects in Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Hamburg, Vienna, Freiburg and Cologne.
[HTML, external link]


Action Ideas

by World Carfree Network

Originally compiled as a list of suggested actions for World Carfree Day 2000, this list includes many suggestions which are easily and readily adaptable for anyone who wants to fight car culture. Ranging from activist to family-fun oriented, with ideas for those working alone or in groups, this list remains a great resource and a compilation of some of the best actions we have yeat heard of as well as the newest suggestions.
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An Activist's Guide to Exploiting the Media

by George Monbiot

The only chance we have of reaching people who haven't yet heard what we've got to say is through the media. Whether we use the media or not, our opponents will, says the author of this witty and useful booklet. He then briefly presents the media people and their life problems, and sums up our advantages. In four lessons he teaches you how to invite the press to your actions, how to organise the events so they can be media-covered, how to give interviews and what to do after you've done all this. In one word, a handy step-by-step manual that will turn you into a media star practically overnight!
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The Bluffer's Guide to Conference Organising

by Car Busters & Tinerii Prieteni ai Naturii, 2000

Culled from our experiences in organising Towards Car Free Cities II, held in Romania, April 2000. Includes information on how to chose a venue, get payment, organise actions and much, much more.
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Depaving the World

by Richard Register

A cute little how-to for those of us who feel strong enough in the muscles department. Register prompts us not to waste time anymore and do what the road builders always fail to do - to depave what doesn't have to be paved. Treating small depaving projects, medium-sized projects and depaving for the ambitious separately, he gives a concise lesson on how to actually do the hard work, where to get the tools and where to haul all the black shite you dig out. Marvellous for activists who are not afraid to put on a fake 'Public Works' costume and dig for the 'black gold' that's buried in every street! "Start small, think big. Think it through, then swing that pick."
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Pour en finir avec la société de l'automobile

by Marcel Robert, Carfree France, September 2005

"Marcel Robert nous montre que le choix de vivre sans voiture peut e^tre fait aussi bien au niveau collectif qu’individuel. Ces choix deviennent urgents au fur et a` mesure que nous mesurons les conséquences de nos modes de vie sur notre environnement. La question n’est plus de savoir si ces choix doivent e^tre pris, mais quand nous aurons enfin le courage de les prendre."
The book is also available on-line at Carfree France.
[French - PDF, 0.8MB]

Road Raging: Top Tips for Wrecking Roadbuilding

by Road Alert!, March 1997

The out-of-print road fighter’s bible, with 17 chapters filled with solid, practical information on everything from writing press releases and organising affinity groups to building tree camps and digging tunnels. Written by Road Alert in 1997. This text version lacks the valuable diagrams that accompany the tripod and tree camp sections.
The book is also available on-line at http://www.eco-action.org/rr/.

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American Ground Transport

by Bradford C. Snell, 1974

This proposal for restructuring the automobile, truck, bus and rail industries stemming from the original 1974 U.S. Government Report, looks at social consequences of monopoly. It shows that excessive economic concentration can restructure society for corporate ends. As an illustration, it describes how General Motors, Ford and Chrysler reshaped American ground transportation to serve corporate wants instead of social needs. The study concludes with a discussion of feasibility and a review of alternative means of implementation. It suggests, for instance, that reorganization into smaller, independently competing units is feasible for at least two reasons: America's ground vehicle industries performed better when they were independent and less concentrated; and the more advanced transport industries of Europe and Japan are largely organized in this fashion.
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The Automobile and Décroissance

by Denis Cheynet

Although they have been revealed many times over, the misdeeds of the automobile are never truly heard and absorbed, and their exposure is stifled by an ideology that absolutely does not want to hear about them. In a world that professes to be rational and logical, the car is the most emotional and the most aberrant tool there is. Automobile growth cannot be sustained in the long-term and is also not even feasible in the present, due to the fact that only a privileged minority of humankind benefits from its economic development. If we would like that life be possible on Earth in the decades to come, our only solution is to thus abandon this scourge. At the same time, we must put into question, in a deep and radical manner, the causes which have made the car ideology dominant in industrialized countries. The elimination of the automobile should be effected by reducing our consumption of materials and natural resources, reducing the transportation flow, and a re-evaluation of our goals.
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by Ivan Illich and Jean Robert, 1992

Based on quite accurate observation of the damaging impacts of current transportation and with regard to the historical development of the transportation industry, this study proposes a new way of using private cars. Every car with a free seat must stop when asked. A law restricts licenses to drivers who produce passenger-miles and earn income by doing so. Everyone who is not a driver will be chauffeured, and all drivers are available as chauffeurs. Can a simple judicial judgment turn the way we now think about economic "goods" topsy turvy? Without any technical innovation, can a society transform its social and physical environment? Can a small change in the character of transportation lead to a moral reevaluation of place?
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Car Culture and the Landscape of Subtraction

by Philip Goff, 199?

A little frightening piece of writing to remind us that what used to belong to the public to enjoy has turned into car roadways. Hand in hand with the auto industry, modernist urban planners and architects, dehumanised traffic engineers, and demagogue developers are seen guilty for this negative development. Many of humanity's most pressing problems can be traced to the overuse of automobiles, and unchecked suburban development. Until something in human behaviour is curbed, our decadent lifestyle will continue to decimate communities and cities, and precipitate the ongoing destruction of the natural world.
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Dirty from Cradle to Grave

by John Whitelegg, 1993

Only 40 percent of an average car's air pollution is emitted during the car's "driving" life stage. The other 60 percent results from other life stages: the extraction of raw materials, the transport of raw materials, the production of the car, and the disposal of the car. Cars emit 56 percent of their pollution before they ever hit the road, and 4 percent after they are retired. Thus efforts to decrease air pollution by getting "old, polluting" cars off the road to only replace them with new, "cleaner" cars are misguided - as such efforts have focused on pollution emitted solely during the driving stage and thus have missed 60 percent of the problem. We advocate an end to the production of new cars, an end to road building, and also to take existing cars off the roads in favor of walking, bicycling, and tram and train use.
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The Elephant in the Bedroom

by Stanley I. Hart and Alvin L. Spivak, 1992

The Elephant in the Bedroom (The one thing we must do to save the earth) is a book on-line. It describes "the condition of society and the economy as affected by our dependence on the automobile. Dependence created by heavy subsidies: parking, operating space, costs to local government."
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Energy And Equity

by Ivan Illich, 1974

Ivan Illich’s brilliant, classic, mind-blowing essay argues (among other things) that high speed is the critical factor that makes transportation socially destructive, that we have become dangerously overpowered by our technology. He calls for a society based around low-speed transport, having found that, at speeds faster than 15 mph, equity declines, the scarcity of both time and space increases, and the human and natural environment are degraded. Illich thus finds a contradiction implicit in the joint pursuit of equity and industrial growth.
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by John Adams, 2000

Mobility is liberating and empowering, Adams argues. But you can have too much of a good thing. Adams maintains that society will be more dispersed, polarised and crime-ridden, as well as less democratic. People will become fatter and less fit, the world will be more dangerous for those not in cars and anonymous, less culturally varied and convivial. He discusses why the society is, and increasingly will be, hypermobile. He sees the primary reason for this in the politicians not asking people the right question. Instead of presenting people with the real consequences of moving too much, they keep on pretending that there are no such consequences. Only when the right questions are asked, the right answers will be found.
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The Importance of the Car to the Modern Economy

by Anonymous M11 (UK) campaigner, 1994

A critique of the automobile as a part of a larger class-conscious critique of capitalism. It dissects “Fordism,” which raised labour productivity through assembly-line-based industrial production methods and provided the basis for mass consumption. Addresses the freedom of movement introduced by car ownership as a false freedom, a formal freedom, a representation of freedom which becomes a necessity that reduces the freedom of others. Also looks at the contribution of the automobile to social alienation and powerlessness.
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by Daniel James, 2000

This short article explains why so many people spend so much time of their lives driving. It identifies the driving forces behind mass motorism as different forms of dictatorship and political propaganda, be it Hitler's fascism, Stalinism, Thatcherism, or Fordism. The car in James' view is a device of mass obedience, and motorism is an ideology rather than an individual's choice. If we recognise this, James argues, we are in a position to discard it.
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The Myth of the Efficient Car

by Prof. Frank Fisher, Director of the Graduate School of Environmental Science at the University of Monash, Australia, 1997

This article, originally published in Engineering World (Feb/Mar 1997), takes a holistic look at the car to reveal it as one of the greatest failings of the economic rationalists governing our society. In terms of energy, time and money, it is too great an inefficiency to perpetuate.
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Motorcycles and Bicycles: Debunking Myths

by Konstantinos Tsourlakis, 2004

Tsourlakis, of the Greek pedestrian rights organisation PEZEE, argues that scooters and motorcycles, seen by some as viable alternatives to cars because they are cheaper and can avoid traffic jams, are, in many ways, more polluting than cars and have less potential to limit that pollution.
[English - RTF]
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Social Ideology of the Motorcar

by André Gorz, 1973

"Unlike the vacuum cleaner, the radio, or the bicycle, which retain their use value when everyone has one, the car, like a villa by the sea, is only desirable and useful insofar as the masses don't have one. That is how in both conception and original purpose the car is a luxury good. And the essence of luxury is that it cannot be democratised. If everyone can have luxury, no one gets any advantages from it. On the contrary, everyone diddles, cheats, and frustrates everyone else, and is diddled, cheated, and frustrated in return."
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Time Pollution

by John Whitelegg, 1994

Although time-savings provide the principal economic justification for new road schemes, the expansion of the road network and the increase in traffic does not seem to have given people more free time. This is because pedestrian time is not evaluated, because cars are deceptively time-consuming, and because people tend to use what time savings they do gain to travel farther.
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The Secret History of Lead

by Jamie Lincoln Kitman, 2000

New York lawyer and writer, in this 24-page expose which appeared in The Nation (March 20, 2000), documents how some of the world's largest corporations -- General Motors, Du Pont and Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon-Mobil) -- got together and put lead, a known poison, into gasoline, for profit. They steadfastly denied the environmental and health effects; covered up, suppressed, fought and unfairly maligned the safer, competing fuel additives; overstated the benefits of lead as an "anti-knocking" agent; funded, underwrote and controlled all scientific research on lead for more than four decades; and threatened and defamed independent scientists who would eventually debunk the companies' pro-lead views.
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Taken For A Ride

A good Discussion and Study Guide to accompany the documentary about the destruction of public transport and rise of the automobile in the United States.


Evidence on the Effects of Road Capacity Reduction on Traffic Levels

by Phil Goodwin et al., 1998

In most locations, road capacity will not be increased sufficiently to provide for unrestrained growth in car use. For this reason, there will be increasing pressure to ensure that the best possible use is made of existing road capacity. In addition, greater attention is being focused on the role of road capacity in policies intended to reduce traffic growth, and, in some locations, to reduce the present amount of traffic. Reallocation of a proportion of road capacity - either to favoured classes of vehicle traffic, or to non-vehicle use - is therefore of major policy interest. This summary report of a large empirical study reviews a number of cases of road capacity reduction, and comes to a conclusion that measures which reduce or reallocate road capacity, when well-designed and favoured by strong reasons of policy, need not automatically be rejected for fear that they will inevitably cause unacceptable congestion.
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Measuring Transportation Traffic, Mobility and Accessibility

By Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 2005

This article compares three approaches to measuring transportation system performance and discusses their effects on planning decisions. Traffic-based measurements (such as vehicle trips, traffic speed and roadway level of service) evaluate motor vehicle movement. Mobility-based measurements (such as person-miles, door-to-door traffic times and ton-miles) evaluate person and freight movement. Accessibility-based measurements (such as person-trips and generalized travel costs) evaluate the ability of people and businesses to reach desired goods, services and activities. Accessibility is the ultimate goal of most transportation and so is the best approach to use.
[English - PDF]

The Ten Myths of Automobile Dependence

By Peter Newman & Jeff Kenworthy, World Transport Policy & Practice, Volume 6, Number 1 (2000)

The myths about automobile dependence are analysed and dismissed as no longer having the inevitability they once had. The myths relate to wealth, climate, space, age, health and social problems, rural life styles, the road lobby, land developers, traffic engineering and town planning praxis. Only the tenth one seems to continue to have an inevitability due to entrenched practices which should now be updated and replaced.
[English - PDF]


Pollution Issues

Thomson Group

This website contains articles on various pollution-related issues, including automobiles. A decent source of facts and figures.
Website (English)


by World Carfree Network

Statistics, statistics. A few of the facts and figures that can help you get your message across to the audience, stun and amaze your opponents and shock the uninitiated.
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Transport and the Economy: The Myths and the Facts

European Federation for Transport and Environment, 2001

T&E's excellent booklet takes on ten myths about road building. Should be slipped under the doorsteps of any politicians who thinks that road building helps economic growth.
[PDF, 2.6MB]
[PDF, no pictures, 295KB]
All T&E reports


Carbusters Graphics Book

The Carbusters Graphics Book is now online, bringing together some of the best transport-related illustration. These images are available for use by local groups, for any non-profit use! If you also have some graphics to share, please send them to info@carbusters.org.
Browse pictures


In addition to the videos below (most hosted on other websites), The Commons: Open Society Sustainability Initiative has several videos online.

Autoschreck (Car Fright)

(Roland Schraut, GER, 1994, 15 min.)
The car is taking over the city. Michael Hartmann refuses to bow to them, refuses even to divert around the cars illegally parked on the sidewalk. Autoschreck is a documentary about a man committed to a mental hospital for being perfectly normal. He was just giving the cars a taste of their own medicine. Other videos from the same website include a documentary of the first Towards Carfree Cities conference, and audio excerpts from the book Car Walking Michael Hartmann.
watch on-line [English - RealMedia]
download [English - RealMedia, 26MB]

Towards Carfree Cities I Conference (Lyon, 1997)

(TCFC I Conference Participants, FR/NL, 1997, 35 min.)
A movement of activists has formed to liberate cities across Europe from cars, a growing movement making itself heard louder and louder across national boundaries and language barriers. At a conference called Towards Carfree Cities, this international movement came together for a first-time fusion of ideas, experiences and culture. The results of such an event, of course, can never be predicted.
watch on-line [English - RealMedia]
download [English - RealMedia, 59MB]

Dinosaurs Against Fossil Fuels

(Extinction Stinks!, CAN, 2002, 6 min.)
The wild adventures of Vancouver's legendary band of mischevious, cycling velociraptors. A fun and inspiring video, light-hearted but serious at the same time.
link: Youtube

Destination Earth

(Sutherland Productions, sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, USA, 1956, 13 min.)
A martian goes to Earth to learn about the secret of transportation. Comedy ensues while he learns about oil-lubricated American greatness. Interesting mix of cute animation, conservative Cold War-era capitalist dogma, and narration so condescending it makes you cringe.
link: Prelinger Archive

In the Suburbs

(On Film, Inc., sponsored by Redbook Magazine, USA, 1957, 19 min.)
A priceless view of the socio-economic conditions which led to what we now have to live with - the malling of the world. It looks cute today, but for everyone who laments the passing of community in the wake of McWorld, this film chronicles the beginning of the end.
link: Prelinger Archive


Bangladesh, Rickshaws in Dhaka

by WBB Trust

Images and text to demonstrate the widespread use and value of this form of transport in Dhaka.
document (pdf)

Bibliography and Resources

by World Carfree Network

An alphabetised list of some recommended books and articles to read on non-motorised transport and related topics. Also includes contact info for some NGOs and other organisation working on transport issues.
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Bicycle Helmets

by Patrick Gunkel, 1988

This is a summary of a discussion from 1988 on the bicycle helmets. It reprints a New York Times article, a commentary to it, and a summary of remarks submitted to a public hearing on helmets. Interesting to see the pro and con arguments, in the light of current developments.
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Biking Songs

by Steven Muir, 2005

A collection of cycling songs by New Zealand activist Steven Muir, ideal for holiday sing-alongs, cycle events, Critical Mass, humming while cycling, etc.
[English - PDF, 178KB]

Car Quiz

by Teacher Chris, 2000

Compiled by teacher Chris in Japan from the statistics on this site to test his kids, it is of use to any teachers out there. Or a campaign tool for activists on the streets. Or simply a way to test your own knowledge...
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Community Action for Healthy Transport

Strategies, programs, policies and organisations promoting sustainable transport
by Christine Laurence

In 2002, Christine Laurence travelled to Zurich, Copenhagen, Stockholm, San Francisco, Washington DC and Toronto to talk to community groups working for sustainable transport. This report summarises what people shared with her, as well as lots of different ways people are advocacting for healthier transport. Some lessons from the study tour, according to Laurence: community action is essential to develop the political will needed for healthy transport. This action will be more successful if it is based on a comprehensive strategy that includes a set of guiding principles and has a vision and focus. Also needed are a robust analysis of the issues, goals, clearly defined decision makers and supporters, organisational development, a communications plan, considered tactics to persuade decisionmakers and the community to take action and an ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the strategy.
[English - PDF, 485kB]

Fußgänger- und fahrradfreundliche Stadt

Chancen des Fuß- und Radverkehrs als Beitrag zur Umweltentlastung
by Umweltbundesamt (German Federal Environmental Agency), 2005

A description of the preconditions for creating pedestrian and bicycle-friendly cities, as well as the benefits of urban planning for non-motorised transport.
[Deutsch - PDF, 7.5MB]

Magazines and Publications

A list of some of magazines and publications that we have in our library and that might be useful to you.
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Safe Routes to School

by Amics de la Bici, 2004

Powerpoint presentation by Barcelona's Amics de la Bici (Friends of the Bicycle) on building safe routes to school by walking or cycling. Good for organisations or individuals looking for inspiration or something on which to base their own presentation.
[English - Winzipped PPT, 379KB]
[Espanol - Winzipped PPT, 403KB]

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 This page was last updated 11 September 2009