- Series: MIT Press
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press (January 29, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262013827
- ISBN-13: 978-0262013826
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #984,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century (MIT Press) 0th Edition
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The content is intelligent, well laid out, entertaining, understandable, and approachable...Often, works about the future of the automobile industry are just tools to express idealistic beliefs or anti-industry sentiments. This book is refreshing because the authors understand the whole package in terms of current problems, and their solutions, and succinctly present a glimpse of a future (and a present) that people can feel good about.(Choice)
In this book, William Mitchell, perhaps the greatest urban theorist and designer of the Information Age, provides a concrete alternative to the unsustainable model of urban transportation based on the traditional automobile, and paves the way for the transformation of the automobile industry as a whole. In this time of crisis Reinventing the Automobile is mandatory reading, besides researchers and students, for planners, industrialists, and governments searching for a way out for the car of the industrial era.(Manuel Castells, Professor Emeritus of City Planning, University of California, Berkeley)
Our American auto industry is at a perilous crossroads - it can adhere to the 'old ways' and perish or it can leapfrog the competition, reinvent itself, and lead the automotive world into the 21st century. Many of the ideas set forth in this book just might serve as a blueprint for this much-needed and important change of direction. Who better to lead the way than our geek brethren from MIT?(Tom & Ray Magliozzi, aka "Click and Clack," Hosts of Car Talk)
We are at the threshold of a new era of urban transport. Reinventing the Automobile offers a breathtaking vista of the opportunities ahead. Mitchell, Borroni-Bird, and Burns combine their great engineering expertise, design skills, and practical experience to create a dazzling vision of a new urban transport system to support healthy, productive, safe, and environmentally sustainable cities in the 21st century. The book is consistently exciting, a wonderful chance to peer over the shoulders of masters as they sort through the complex terrain of energy systems, urban lifestyles, digital connectivity, and cutting-edge automotive engineering. This book will fascinate and inspire not only specialists in transport and engineering, but everybody interested in the new age of sustainable development.(Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon)
Finally, a book that addresses the problems of carbon emissions, sustainability, transportation, city planning, and traffic, by authors who understand what the automobile industry does not -- that these issues are all interconnected and part of the same picture. This book has a great deal to offer to anyone who is interested in the green movement in architecture, in city planning, in traffic problems, in pollution, and in the challenge of making our planet more humane.(Frank Gehry)
Mitchell, Borroni-Bird, and Burns have created a blueprint for sustainable urban mobility. Reinventing the Automobile will fundamentally change the way we approach transportation design. Every car company should take note: evolve or face increasing irrelevance.(David Kelley, Founder and Chairman, IDEO, and Professor, Stanford University)
It isn't technological barriers so much as closed minds that are holding back the necessary evolution of the automobile; using calm and devastatingly inarguable logic, this is a virtual step-by-step manual that deploys an original idea on every page to show exactly how it can and should be achieved. If you care about cars, read this book: it opens your mind and lets the future in.(Bruce McCall, artist and writer The New Yorker)
Visionary in its totality, it is also soberly realistic.(Peter D. Norton Metascience)
Presents a fascinating and challenging model of technological possibilities.(Martin Wachs Issues in Science and Technology)
About the Author
William J. Mitchell was the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences and directed the Smart Cities research group at MIT's Media Lab. Christopher Borroni-Bird is GM's Director of Advanced Technology Vehicle Concepts. Lawrence D. Burns advises companies, governments, and universities on transportation, energy, and communications systems and technology. He was Vice President of Research and Development at General Motors from 1998 to 2009.
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The problem with this "small is beautiful" vision is that it will be hard to sell it to most Americans, who are used to getting more, not less. But what if these little cars actually got you to your destination sooner, because they could go on tracks that bypassed intersections and congestion, and because they could augment their battery with power supplied by the road? In that case, even a Texan might want one. The Third Generation Roadway by Roger Davidheiser describes such a system, based on the same small cars described in "Reinventing the Automobile" but with the addition of an interface for a dedicated track, or "Roadway." I recommend that these two books be read together.
Their styles are different. "Reinventing the Automobile" reads like a PowerPoint presentation by a design professor, and "The Third Generation Roadway" reads like a master's thesis by an engineer. Neither asks nor answers the difficult and divisive question, "Do these improvements in auto technology negate the need for more investment in trains and buses in American-style cities?" But both are important and stimulating attempts to imagine how we will get around in the cities of the fairly near future.
In quite a masterpiece of original thinking, the authors deliver a solution for our current model of unsustainable cities by proposing a reinvented automobile, with a new DNA, combined with Mobility Internet and smart clean energy. They proposed ultra-small vehicles (USV) as a solution, an urban car designed for megacities, as opposed to the 20th century solution of designing and adapting cities and their landscape around cars. USVs and their wireless capabilities would allow electronically managed variable pricing systems for roads (congestion pricing), parking, car sharing and even auto insurance. But the most promising new concept is "mobility-on-demand" systems, to efficiently complement public transportation by providing a personal mobility service for the "first mile" and "last mile" of urban trips. Certainly the combination of the proposed schemes would result in a safe, environmentally friendly, affordable, and sustainable solution for the personal mobility needs in urban environments.
Despite the book's futuristic view, Chapter 9 is a must read for both urban planners and traffic engineers, and particularly for the laymen. This chapter presents the best collection of evidence I have seen (presented in very nice graphs and figures that deliver a crystal clear message) demonstrating the unsustainability of our current model of automobile travel (in the U.S and around the world), not only because of the well known traffic congestion problems, death toll due to accidents, air pollution and waste of time and fossil fuels, but also because of all the indirect negative impacts (externalities in more technical jargon). This chapter makes an excellent case for getting rid of the internal combustion engine and to move on asap to more sustainable and more efficient means of transportation, whether you believe in global warming or not, whether you are concerned about energy independence or not.
This book is a must read for scholars and practitioners of city planning and urban transportation, as well as the serious fans of electric cars and all city dwellers concerned about the negative impacts of urban transportation.