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The "Car-Free Day" originated in Europe. In the 1990s, many European cities witnessed a significant increase in vehicles, leading to escalating problems of air pollution and noise, adversely impacting the quality of life and the health of the population. In response to this, the European Union established an air quality monitoring system with the goal of safeguarding the health and quality of life of European residents. Subsequently, starting with countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Iceland, an increasing number of nations joined a series of movements advocating for car-free days in cities, successfully prompting European residents to rethink urban car usage and providing further opportunities to respect the environment.

On September 22, 1998, the French Ministry of Land Planning and Environment initiated the nationwide "Car-Free Day" movement with the slogan "In Town, without my car!" Strongly supported by 35 towns across France, especially urban residents, the focus of this slogan aimed to draw public attention to the pollution issues caused by excessive vehicle use in cities. It also aimed to reaffirm the rights of pedestrians and cyclists, and to strengthen public transportation systems in metropolitan areas, thereby improving urban traffic and environmental conservation.

In 2023, the Taipei City Government organized an event: "Participating in Car-Free Day on September 22, I didn't drive or ride a motorcycle to work, leaving a record for carbon reduction."