In too many parts of the Kansas City region, owning a car is the only way to fully participate in the community. Car ownership should not limit a person’s ability to live a full life, especially when you consider that:
- The average cost of owning a car has increased to over $12,000 a year.
- More than 46,000 households in the Kansas City region alone don’t have access to a vehicle.
- Transportation remains one of the region’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, in large part because of driving alone.
Far too much of our transportation and land use policy continues to support and emphasize driving, and especially driving alone. It can be challenging to move the needle when local and regional leaders use driving alone in a vehicle as their primary form of transportation.
BikeWalkKC wants to challenge this mindset and give local leaders an opportunity to experience our transportation system differently. That’s why we’re working with the Mid-America Regional Council to coordinate efforts in support of National Week without Driving 2023 from October 2-8 this year.
This event was originally started by the Disability Mobility Initiative in Washington State in 2020. The purpose of the event is to draw attention to the fact that 25% of Americans are unable to drive for one reason or another, but also that non-drivers are far too often overlooked in the development and implementation of transportation and land use policy.
How does the National Week without Driving work? As Disability Rights Washington explains, it involves three key components:
- You can get around however you want, but the challenge is to not drive yourself in a car. It applies to all travel, not just your work commute. That also means trips where you’re transporting family and friends as well.
- You can ask someone for a ride, but think about what you “owe” this person for their time. If you use a taxi or ride hail, think about how the cost could impact your budget if this was your regular and only option.
- This is not a disability simulation or a test to see how easily you can find alternatives. It also isn’t a failure if you have to drive. The point is to consider how someone without that option would have coped, and what choices they might have made.
For 2023, the Disability Mobility Initiative is partnering with America Walks to make this a national event. BikeWalkKC is reaching out to a number of elected officials and staff to invite them to participate. In addition to this event, we hope to chronicle the experience of those who participate. If you’re interested in participating, use the form here to sign up!