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Engaging with World Car-Free Day 2022

Did you know that supporting car-free travel to your museum opens up access to the 55% of households in Glasgow without access to a car or van? Or that 50% of all CO2 emissions from visitor attractions is estimated to come from visitors’ cars? This 22nd September, encourage your visitors to leave their cars at home for World Car-Free Day.

World Car-Free Day

Most car journeys in Scotland are under 5km and these can easily be swapped for bikes, wheels or walking. This has the benefit of being healthier, quieter, safer, cleaner and often quicker! For longer journeys, we have an excellent public transport network that is decarbonizing its trains and buses. So its easy for visitors to switch it up for a day.

For ideas on what you can do to encourage car-free visitors to your door, you could start by checking out Good Journey. Set up in 2018, they work with visitor attractions to promote heritage venues that are accessible car-free. Their website helps visitors plan their journeys and highlights any promotions at attractions for car-free visitors, plus public transport promotions. Types of visitor benefits include discounted or 2for1 entry for sites with admission fees, discounts in gift shops, complimentary hot drinks, and more.

Have you discovered the journey planning tools from TravelineCycle.Travel and Cyclestreets? You can link these on your website to make it easier for visitors to choose an alternative mode of transport. You can also make sure that any visitor information follows the sustainable transport hierarchy – with active travel options listed first and directions by car last. Good visitor information on your website is a requirement for Accreditation, so why not make it green?

Scotrail also runs a Kids for a Quid scheme year round on off-peak services, allowing 1 adult to travel with up to four kids. There’s no need to book in advance and they can be used alongside season tickets and Flexipass products. Signpost the scheme on your website. Abbotsford, Verdant Works, RRS Discovery and the Scottish Football Museum are just some of Scotland’s museums that take this a step further and offer free entry as part of the Kids for a Quid scheme.

For tourists, you might want to link to the Spirit of Scotland Pass that allows people unlimited travel for a week or a fortnight on trains, buses, coaches and ferries. There are also a growing number of holidays promoted as car-free, like this island hopping tour so check out what eco-travel tours might be starting up near you and how you can connect.

For on the day activities, speak to your local bike shops and see if they are participating in the Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme – they might be able to do a pop-up bike repair station at your museum.

You could do something simple like ask visitors how they travelled to your museum to get accurate data on visitor travel to your site. Make it an annual activity and you’ll be able to see what progress you’re making to reduce visitor travel emissions.

Or you could use the day to challenge perceptions by inviting local groups like Bikes for RefugeesCycling Without Age, or Everybody’s Cycling to your museum.

How’s about focusing on staff and volunteers by running a free breakfast on the 22nd for people who leave the car at home? Then get them to post about their experience on your social media using the hashtags #CarFree and #WorldCarFreeDay.

Maybe you have collections connected to bikes, trains and buses that you could showcase for the day.

Whether you choose to go big or small, it all helps to give people and the planet breathing space and we could all do with a little of that, right?