1. On a map of your town, find the location of your home. Place the
point of a divider compass there, and draw a circle with a two-mile
2. Now mark with a highlighter the places that you regularly
visit: your workplace, grocery store, place of worship, day care
center, and any other place you visit at least once every two
3. Choose one of the places that falls within the circle and
commit to walking, biking, or taking transit to it instead of
driving. (More than one-quarter of Americans’ daily automobile
trips are a mile or less. Almost 14 percent are less than half a
mile, a 10-minute walk.)
4. Take note of the unbeatable benefits of walking. ‘Walking
helps put me back in touch with nature, back in touch with myself,’
writes car-free commuter Troy Holter from Montana. ‘I notice the
more subtle aspects of the natural environment: a change of color,
delicate sounds, the feel of air on my skin, my body connecting
5. Every couple of weeks, commit to walking, biking, or taking
transit to another location within the circle.
6. Begin choosing places outside the two-mile radius and see if
you can find a closer alternative.
7. Now assess your new transportation needs. Total up all your
household’s driving and calculate whether occasional taxi rides and
car rentals wouldn’t be cheaper than paying all the bills for
two–or even one–car.
Katie Alvord lives car-free in the Upper
Peninsula, Michigan. This article is reprinted from her new book,
Divorce Your Car! Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile,
and is used with permission from New Society Publishers ?2000.