Life With Kids and No Car—How Is It Done?

CityLab asked readers in carless households with kids about how they get around and the challenges they face.

1 minute read

May 17, 2019, 9:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink


Kid on Train

KK Tan / Shutterstock

In a survey of readers, CityLab asked for details about what life with kids is like for a carless household:

For some of you, being carless with kids is a privilege. You have gone to great lengths to design your lives around your choice, including the accessible neighborhood where you chose to live. For others, of course, being carless is a financial necessity—or at least, in many cases, a cost-saving decision. And many of you helped us to expand our definition of "carless" to incorporate "car-light" families.

Some readers said they went multimodal, adding transit, ridesharing, carsharing, and biking to the mobility mix. Others said they had to find the right bike or stroller to meet their transportation needs. Several noted that their ability to go car-free depended on geography: in cities with good transit and biking infrastructure, not having a car was doable.

One reader in Porto Alegre, Brazil, just gave up on transit and bought a car. "After waiting more than an hour in the rain, Rachel finally caught a bus, then walked the final stretch home juggling Alex, both their bags, and an umbrella. She got in soaked and demoralized, and a serious reevaluation of our commitment to public transportation ensued."

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