Road to Nowhere exposes the flaws in Silicon Valley’s vision of the future: ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft to take us anywhere; electric cars to make them ‘green’; and automation to ensure transport is cheap and ubiquitous. Such promises are implausible and potentially dangerous.
As Paris Marx shows, these technological visions are a threat to our ideas of what a society should be. Electric cars are not a silver bullet for sustainability, and autonomous vehicles won’t guarantee road safety. There will not be underground tunnels to eliminate traffic congestion, and micromobility services will not replace car travel any sooner than we will see the arrival of the long-awaited flying car.
In response, Marx offers a vision for a more collective way of organizing transportation systems that considers the needs of poor, marginalized, and vulnerable people. The book argues that rethinking mobility can be the first step in a broader reimagining of how we design and live in our future cities. We must create streets that allow for social interaction and conviviality. We need reasons to get out of our cars and to use public means of transit determined by community needs rather than algorithmic control. Such decisions should be guided by the search for quality of life rather than for profit.
“The last decade has been a trainwreck for Silicon Valley’s dreams of mobility. Paris Marx’s invaluable new book explains how and why big tech’s utopian transit projects crashed and burned, why these disasters will keep finding funding if they are not opposed, and what the alternative might look like. The path to a better, more equitable future of transit begins with the Road to Nowhere.”
“An astute and engaging critique of Silicon Valley’s visions for transportation, Marx highlights the problems of technology being driven by the needs of capital and crafts a compelling vision of a world where technology is instead used to deliver social good”
“A good storyteller and a ruthless critic, Marx shows us how corporate interests created our highly irrational modern-day mobility regime, and how Silicon Valley threatens to summon even stupider transportation futures. If you care about how your body moves through space, you should read this book.”
“A vivid and timely reminder of how mobility is political. This book is a persuasive account of the many problems with the tech industry, but also a compelling case for how we can change the physical environment in service of people and the planet.”
“A lively summary of the ways Big Tech has distracted us from the urgent task of making our cities work for everyone.”
“Draws a compelling picture of the evolution of the Western vision of mobility.”
“Road to Nowhere pulls the mind of the reader towards the myriad of possibilities that come into view if we think of our world without the car...a useful compendium not just of the follies of Silicon Valley in respect of transportation, but also the price we pay when these costs are socialised.”
“I recommend Road to Nowhere not only for what it says about transport, but for its approach to technologies more generally ... [it] is far ahead of the depressing pile of texts that put a 'left' gloss on techno-optimism”