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What is it like to try to get around your community without driving yourself? For people who can drive, and can afford a car, this isn’t something you think about. But for nearly a quarter of the people in our state – people with disabilities, young people, seniors and people who can’t afford cars or gas, this is our every day.

We want to challenge our elected leaders and transportation and transit agency staff to join us for our Week Without Driving, as the decisions you make around transportation planning, policies and funding impact all of us, and we want you to have the opportunity to learn with us.

Hosted by Disability Rights Washington, Disability Mobility Initiative, in collaboration with 350 Seattle, All Aboard Washington, Cascade Bicycle Club, Climate Solutions, Complete Streets Bellevue, Downtown on the Go, Everett Bike Walk, Feet First, Front and Centered, Futurewise, Hopelink, Kirkland Greenways, Living Well Kent, Move Redmond, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Seattle Subway, Share the Cities, Snohomish County Transportation Coalition, Transit Riders Union & Transportation Choices Coalition.

A light skinned man in a orange high-vis jacket wheels a tricycle across a street. Cars are waiting. There is no crosswalk
A man in an orange high-vis jacket wheels a tricycle across a street. Cars are waiting. There is no crosswalk.

How does the Week Without Driving (October 22-29, 2021) work?

You can get around however you want, but you can’t drive yourself in any car. This applies to all your activities — not just your work commute. And if you normally transport other family members or friends, it applies to those trips too. 

This isn’t a disability simulation or a test of how easily you can find alternatives. We know that it is far easier to give up your keys if you can afford to live in a walkable area well served by transit, or can outsource your driving and other transport and delivery needs to other people. Instead, we intend this as a learning experience to inform the decisions you, as an elected leader or policymaker, will make about land use, climate, health equity and transportation access and funding. We want you to have this experience so you can start to understand the barriers non-drivers experience in accessing your (and our) communities.  

If you decide to, you can ask someone else to drive you, but make a note of how much you “owe” this person in their time, and if you felt obligated to support them in other ways (ie, doing all the dishes). If it’s a staff person, make a note of how much you pay them for this time. You can use ride-hail or taxis, but make a note of how much it costs you. 

If you’re interested, we can partner you with a non-driver from your community who can be your “technical advisor” and can give you tips on how to get around. 

When you finish your week, take a few minutes to tell us about it, either in a short exit interview, or by answering the following questions in writing or in an audio or video recording:

  • What was your experience like? What were the biggest barriers to getting where you needed to go? Where were the gaps? Were there activities that you gave up?
  • What else did you notice? Did it take you longer to get where you needed to be? Did it take you longer to plan how to get places? Was there infrastructure or environments where you didn’t feel safe?
  • What parts of your experience did you enjoy?  Did you get more physical activity? Did you get to interact with people from your community you don’t normally interact with? Did you see or experience places you don’t normally visit?
  • If you do end up having an emergency and have to drive yourself, make note of this. What would you have done if you didn’t have this option?
  • Anything else you want to share with us about your experience?

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