The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving with Peter Norton


Mar 1, 2023


Join CURA for a presentation by the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, and of AutonoramaPeter Norton.


We have all the technology we need for the transport transformation. But tech companies, automakers, and others want to convince us that we need unlimited futuristic tech. For 90 years, they have been selling us impossible futures, always on the promise that amazing technology will finally deliver the city where everyone can safely drive anywhere at any time without delay. When the promises fail, they invoke the next generation of amazing technology to restore their lost credibility. But amazing technology does not make car-dependent cities work. The promoters’ goal has never been transport sufficiency; they sell transport consumerism. In so doing they misrepresent practices as preferences, tools as solutions, and novelty as innovation. Only when we escape the high-tech distraction can we recognize that we already have everything we need for the affordable, healthful, inclusive and sustainable transport future we seek.

Peter Norton is an associate professor of history in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia. He is a member of the University of Virginia’s Center for Transportation Studies and has been a visiting faculty member at the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Norton is the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, and of Autonorama: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving. He is a winner of the Usher Prize of the Society for the History of Technology and a frequent speaker on the subject of sustainable and equitable urban mobility. 

This event is approved for 1 AICP CM credit. To claim your CM credits, log into your My APA account on the APA website and enter the event into your online CM event log.