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Ditch the car or bring someone along for World Car Free Day

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Thursday is World Car Free Day.
Thursday is World Car Free Day.
Dan Olson | MPR News file

As traffic congestion increases, MnDOT and the city of Minneapolis are urging commuters Thursday to join other cities across the world in trying a new way of getting to work.

Organizers hope solo commuters will test out an alternative transportation option for World Car Free Day, said to John Barobs, communication manager for Move Minneapolis.

"It's building awareness for the people that have been driving alone, and perhaps don't know about their options or don't know the relative ease of making that transition," Barobs said.

More than 1,500 commuters in downtown Minneapolis and elsewhere in the state have pledged through Move Minneapolis' website to switch it up and travel by bicycle, bus, train or carpool to work on Thursday. 

  "We provide free bus passes, if they would like to try biking in, we provide information on bike trails and ... carpool networks," Barobs says. 

Approximately 40 percent of daytime commuters use mass transit, Barobs said, and the Minneapolis Downtown Council hopes to increase that number to 60 percent by 2025

Single-occupant vehicle traffic is a major source of traffic conjestion, Barobs said. MnDOT's most recent traffic report showed congestion on Twin Cities metro-area  freeways increased more then 2 percent from 2014 to 2015.

So far, most of the World Car Free Day pledges have come from the metro area, but Minnesotans from every part of the state are encouraged to participate.