City Life

Living Car Free in Chicago

By On

Living car free in Chicago is becoming easier, and this concept is catching on with Chicagoans across the city. According to Rachel Jonat from, going car free can save $200-300 per month. But saving money isn’t the only reason that some people are going car free in Chicago:

  • Abundant Public Transportation (CTA, Metra)
  • Low Parking Availability
  • Easy Walking & Biking

How To Ease Into Being Car Free

1) Ditching your car isn’t always easy

Most people who’ve gone car free recommend starting small. Try being car free for a week or two. Do your best to get to and from work and other daily activities without hopping into your vehicle. After you’ve tried for a few weeks, begin to think about ditching your car.

2) Be mindful of the health benefits

Sitting in a car for prolonged periods of time every day adds up to a lot of sedentary hours and is unhealthy. Walking 20 minutes a day can improve your health. Think of going car free as an investment into your health and life.

3) Learn and leverage public transportation

Public transportation is great for long distances as well as when the weather isn’t conducive for walking or biking. Additionally, many trains and buses allow bikes on board.

4) Try it!

Worried about going car free and getting to work late? Try it out on a weekend, and make an adventure of it. Walk or bike to work or hop on the bus or train to see what it’s like. If you want to try it on an actual work day, try it on the way home so you have plenty of time to test it out.

{adinserter 1}

Car Alternatives

In order to go car free, you must be aware of your alternatives. We’ve assembled some situations and car free alternatives below.

Getting To/From Work:

  • CTA
  • Uber / Lyft
  • Taxis
  • Bike

Moving Large Objects:

  • Dolly
  • U-Haul

Long Distance Traveling

  • Zipcar
  • Rental Cars

Home Improvement

  • Dolly
  • Home Depot / Lowe’s Rental Truck


  • Peapod, Door to Door Organics
  • Walk with grocery stroller

Everything Else

Check out this list of 11 apps for car-free living for more ways to make living car-free easy.


40:40:20 Rule

Lynn Sloman, author of Car Sick: Solutions for Our Car-addicted Culture discovered a general rule of thumb called the 40:40:20 Rule. The rule illustrates that a vast majority of transportation needs can be solved without having a car in your possession. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 40% of car trips could have been made by bike, foot, or public transportation
  • 40% of trips require a “temporary” vehicle (think Uber, taxis, etc)
  • 20% of trips have to be made by a car in your possession (rental, car share)

Car-Free Streets

A local civic group has proposed select “Car-Free” streets within Chicago. The group, Active Transportation Alliance, wants to emulate certain streets like Times Square in NYC. They believe that car-free streets “can make communities more attractive places to live and shop.”

Related Posts