- Series: Inside Technology
- Hardcover: 408 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press (April 18, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262141000
- ISBN-13: 978-0262141000
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,437,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City (Inside Technology)
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"In this exquisitely researched book, Norton guides us through the complex and passionate debates that cleared the street to make way for the car. These decisions made decades ago still shape our cities, so they are vital to understanding the future of the automobile, as well as its past."--Zachary M. Schrag, author of The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro(Zachary M. Schrag)
"In this exquisitely researched book, Norton guides us through the complex and passionate debates that cleared the street to make way for the car. These decisions made decades ago still shape our cities, so they are vital to understanding the future of the automobile, as well as its past." Zachary M. Schrag , author of The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro
"This is rigorous scholarship the history of technology, and the history of the automobile in particular, will truly benefit from. Norton's fascinating, in-depth history shows the automotive revolution was fought in the streets, reshaping the use of public space and impacting perceptions for generations thereafter." Gijs Mom , author of The Electric Vehicle: Technology and Expectations in the Automobile Age
"We forget that the search for mobility in urban areas has also led to a massive increase in mortality. Fighting Traffic makes the linkage between mobility and mortality explicit. This is a cutting edge work in mobility history and a major contribution to urban history." Clay McShane , author of Down the Asphalt Path
About the Author
Peter D. Norton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia.
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If you want to be an activist, on any topic, you need to read this book. How is it that something so overwhelmingly unwanted in the urban environment came to dominate the scene?
Though the author doesn't specifically state the connection (probably because he is so fair-minded and objective), the period covered (roughly 1910-39) corresponded with the rise of public relations. Norton's story provides a vivid example of how the new techniques of this field were used to manipulate public opinion and advance a political agenda. Fascinating! Highly recommend, especially for those working on pedestrian/bicycle accessibility, transit issues, architects, engineers, and urban designers, or anyone who simply loves cities.
American cyclists should benefit from that principle, but American Motordom managed to get cyclists classified with pedestrians instead of drivers, which created the nasty legal situation of bicyclists under American traffic law. And now anti-motoring bicycle advocates are breaking that principle by advocating non-traveling uses for roadways. The reasons for the war between motorists and pedestrians should again be remembered, with the proper division of street users into those on wheels and those on feet. Norton's book revives that history.
My short criticism is that Norton has not properly discussed the creation and role of traffic rules in achieving our standard of reasonably safe operation.