Eco-Friendly, Nearly Car-Free Town a Hit in Germany

The free tramway passes generously provided by the city of Freiburg are helping residents of Vauban to become less car-dependent and, if need be, there's also a perfect car sharing service available for those who occasionally do need a car.

"This has been a very successful experiment aimed at families with kids to live without cars," said Lord Mayor Dieter Salomon. "The city of Freiburg has managed to create a very decent neighborhood for young and old, keeping in mind the ecological, social, economic and cultural structures as well as reducing energy levels and developing a tailor-made community that is fairly unique in Germany."

The city of Freiburg itself has taken quite a few steps toward a healthier environment for its 215,000 residents. It made its medieval town center more pedestrian-friendly, laid down a lattice of bike paths and introduced a flat rate for tramways and buses. And many residents say they prefer the public transportations system over driving into town.

There's parking for those who need to travel downtown by car. Parking is not cheap, but for those who do drive there are about 300 solar-powered parking meters for short-term parking in use in downtown Freiburg.

"It's a success story," Salomon told "It proves that if you think globally and act locally, every little step helps not only just the people but the environment, too."

It's an old city experiencing the latest when it comes to issues such as global warming, climate change and energy saving.

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