Support the Oxford Car-Free Challenge: taking a break from our cars

***UPDATE OCTOBER 2023: We are pleased to announce that we have reached our original fundraising target.  A big thank you to everyone who has contributed. We welcome further donations; any additional funds raised will allow us to extend the scope of project. ***

We are seeking to raise £20,000 to enable a new project, the Oxford Car-Free Challenge, to be developed in partnership with the national climate action group Possible and the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation (CAST) at Cardiff University. The Oxford Car-Free Challenge will support individuals to try taking a break from their cars for a few weeks – and to use this experience to consider a longer-term move towards more active travel (by which we mean walking, cycling and using public transport).

What’s involved and how the project will benefit active travel in Oxford

The project will involve recruiting twelve volunteer regular car users and supporting them in taking a break from using their cars for three weeks. These individuals will  then act as exemplars or mentors to encourage others to take similar steps.

It can feel quite a challenge to reduce our car use, and we want to help people enjoy the experience. We think this project is useful because it will make a practical contribution to helping people make changes in their own lives. We’d like to help create a city where people can enjoy being out and about, and get to where they need to be, without always having to bother with the car. The volume of cars in our streets right now not only creates pollution and poor air quality and makes it difficult and unsafe to move around, but also puts us all at risk from the CO2 emissions created by so many private vehicles.  Measures to encourage active travel in the city have won majority support from residents, but have also generated fractious debate and misunderstandings. Residents with high car use are naturally concerned about the impact of changes on their everyday lives, even if they agree on the need for them. This project will help people identify realistic alternatives in a way that is sympathetic, supportive and positive.
The project builds on a successful initiative run by Possible in other UK cities in 2022. Most participants in that initiative found going car-free reduced their weekly travel costs, as well as their carbon emissions. There were other unexpected benefits for participants, such as being able to engage in more relaxed and enjoyable travel with family members. Our project in Oxford will support sustainable travel and reduce car dependency in Oxford – increasingly an issue for many residents in and outside Oxford as we prepare for the introduction of ambitious traffic reduction measures.  Further details on the LCON project can be found here, and you can also read the presentation at our AGM in July 2023 by Hirra Khan Adeogun of Possible.

How you can support the project

Possible has already raised part of the funding for the project, and we are now asking our members and supporters to help to fund the remainder.  LCON needs to raise £20,000. Donations from trustees and a commitment from our own reserves have raised £5,500, and generous supporters to date have increased this total to £8,260. Can you help us get to the target? Visit our Donate page for details of how to make a contribution.