Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Kindle Price: £15.59

Save £2.36 (13%)

includes VAT*
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century (MIT Press) by [Mitchell, William J., Borroni-Bird, Chris E., Burns, Lawrence D.]
Kindle App Ad

Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century (MIT Press) Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
£15.59

Kindle Books from 99p
Load up your Kindle library before your next holiday -- browse over 500 Kindle Books on sale from 99p until 31 August, 2016. Shop now

Product Description

Review

"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, The New Yorker "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 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 and Ray Magliozzi, aka "Click and Clack," Hosts of Car Talk

Review

"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." C.J. Myers 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 and Ray Magliozzi, aka "Click and Clack," Hosts of Car Talk -- Tom & Ray Magliozzi "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 -- Jeffrey D. Sachs "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 "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 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 and 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

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 29048 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (29 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OVT83A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #939,636 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Excellent book, refreshingly out-of-the-box thinking, and not so futuristic after all, as three GM EN-V prototypes (Xiao - Laugh, Jiao - Pride, and Miao - Magic) are now being exhibited in Shanghai, and the MIT CityCar prototype is being built in Spain, due for field testing next year in five cities around the world, and already scheduled for mass production by late 2012. The electric driverless car is just around the corner.

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.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written and comprehensive proposals for development and take-ip of electric cars with viable infrastructure.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transporting reading 17 May 2010
By Jay C. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book to stimulate one's thinking about the future of the automobile and urban transportation. Even if you are skeptical about some elements of the authors' vision, it is likely to enrich your understanding of how technology, design, functionality, and economics interact. Reinventing the Automobile is clearly written, supported with ample attractive and helpful graphics. There is a bit of repetition, though it is probably desirable to help explain synergies among several of the key concepts.

The authors explore four principal ideas: a radical new "DNA" in the design of small urban vehicles (driven by wheel motors, for example); a "Mobility Internet" to help manage traffic flows and promote safety; clean energy, with vehicles powered by electricity and hydrogen; and dynamically priced markets. Most of their discussion centers on two-seaters, either "neighborhood electric vehicles" or "electric city cars" with more range.

These vehicles will not be designed to achieve high speeds, which permits greater flexibility in structure, surfaces, and glazing. Elimination of the engine and the application of "by-wire" technology make it possible to imagine new shapes, and in one design even possible to "fold-up" the vehicles so that they occupy less parking space. Based on an electric "skateboard" chassis the vehicles are modular with relatively few parts, easier to construct and repair.

The authors suggest several applications of information technology to aid drivers, some of which can and do work quite well in cars today (GPS-based navigation systems, devices that receive information about traffic to assist routing, and safety sensors, for instance). More futuristic is their vision that eventually vehicles will be safely self-guided.

Current information technology can also support dynamic pricing applications. Chips that allow toll road access priced differently by time of day are just one simple example. Another that I found intriguing (and seemingly quite feasible already) applies sensors in parking spaces to notify drivers of availability, perhaps with the more desired spaces priced higher to reflect supply and demand.

One section presents an informative discussion of "fractional possession" systems with shared cars available for use on demand (these exist on a small scale in several cities today). The authors show how these systems can be greatly enhanced by dynamic pricing and, especially, when vehicles are able to travel autonomously to distribute themselves to points of need.

There are several important limitations to the authors' ideas. Most obvious is that there will still be a pervasive need for vehicles that are bigger than two-seaters -- family cars, trucks, buses, and so on. How will roadway systems safely accommodate the small guys (not designed to endure impacts with big guys), for instance? Or how can electronic vehicle interconnection work adequately unless nearly all vehicles are appropriately equipped? The authors suggest roadway separation, but that could require a massive infrastructure investment and consume even more space than required for transportation currently. They recognize that there is a chicken-and-egg problem inherent in the infrastructure needs: for example, that unless a widespread charging network is in place many people will be reluctant to use electric vehicles, but that without wide use development of such networks may not be economically feasible.

They offer an outline on how to reach their vision from here, but for the most part it consists of only broad principles and not specifics. The most useful guidance they provide, in my opinion, is that we should build on those "foothold " elements that have already been tested (for example, various kinds of electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, wheel motors, telematics systems, road pricing, bike and car sharing, etc.) and continue to look for synergies among them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great little car - but will I get to work quicker? 5 Oct. 2011
By Tom Kane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What would cars be like if they were optimized for urban use, taking maximum advantage of technology? They would be much smaller, designed for the typical load of one or two people. They would be safe due to sensors and software and would lack the heavy "armor" of crumple zones and steel cages. They would be energy-efficient zero-emission electric vehicles. They would be as helpful and informative as iPhones. The authors make a convincing case that these cars are possible with today's technology, and that cities would be cleaner, safer, and would need less space dedicated to parking lots and roads.

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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly out-of-the-box thinking. A must read! 21 Oct. 2010
By Emc2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book, refreshingly out-of-the-box thinking, and not so futuristic after all, as three GM EN-V prototypes (Xiao - Laugh, Jiao - Pride, and Miao - Magic) are now being exhibited in Shanghai, and the MIT CityCar prototype is being built in Spain, due for field testing next year in five cities around the world, and already scheduled for mass production by late 2012. The electric driverless car is just around the corner.

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.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reinventing What? 1 Oct. 2010
By Benn Pamphleteer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book presents a series of interrelated and innovative ideas for the redesign of personal transportation. Some of them are worthwhile and thought-provoking, but I struggled through the first few chapters because they sounded more like a GM sales brochure than a vision of improved urban transportation. Some features were so oversold they required a willful suspension of disbelief (tell me again how putting the passengers into the crush zone of the vehicle makes them safer, as illustrated on page 70?) Some of the statistics are pretty lightly sourced and carefully selected, but still thought-provoking. The ideas are worthwhile, and the concept of electrification and integration of urban personal transit seems compelling.

What is less compelling in the approach as presented are issues raised but left unanswered, but critical to the sustainability of the urban vehicle concepts presented. What will be the licensing regime for drivers of these vehicles? Will we use the same roadways, or devote more land area to an additional transit mode? What is the top and average speed at which these vehicles will travel, an estimate studiously avoided by the authors? Will that speed be controlled by regulation (and enforced with electronic governors)? Will next year's model be allowed to be 5% faster, heavier and more opulent, and will that be seen as desirable? What will that do to the vehicle's interaction with people powering themselves? On what basis will manufacturers compete? Will we be willing to impose design regulations to maintain the benefits of the original designs? Are a billion batteries really the best way to provide electrical load balancing, given their limited life and the exotic materials (presently) required to replace them?

Also largely unacknowledged by the authors are the parallel developments in urban transit systems that compete with their vision of a more efficient, environmentally friendly urban personal vehicle. Public transit systems (public in access, not necessarily ownership) are seeking to achieve the same goals as the model presented here; increased access points and modes; reduced environmental impact; better urban and regional land use; compatibility with human powered transit modes. The questions remaining here are, which vision is more equitable? Which is more economically implementable? Which promises the most desirable future for high density urban dwellers, who make up the increasing majority of the world's people? If both models, personal and public transit, are converging on the same solutions, including automated separation, caravaning, and shared ownership (Mobility on Demand in the authors' parlance) does it really matter which one we choose and if not, what is the best way to get there?
I enjoyed the book, but I'm not sure I bought the product.
1.0 out of 5 stars Love the CityCar, hate the book 14 May 2013
By John C. Briggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reinventing the Automobile fails as a work of fiction because it was impossible for me to "suspend disbelief" long enough to take the book seriously. It also fails as a work of non-fiction because it is too lacking in technical details to satisfy anyone interested in the details of what the authors are proposing.

Let me get the good part out of the way first. As a commuter in Boston, I travel 10 miles each way at speeds not exceeding 30 mph and most of the time spent sitting completely still. The CityCar concepts (AKA hiriko) seems like a very sensible alternative to me. The electric drive in a lightweight vehicle means very efficient commuting, and the folding design might allow me to share by $1200/year parking bill with another commuter (perhaps two others). I'm sold on the concept for the inner city.

But if you think you will learn anything about the details of this car design (the in-hub motors, the suspension, the folding design), think again. No technical details are presented on the engineering of the car.

ONLY IN THE CITY. The other aspect of this book that must be made clear is that they are only trying to solve the problem of city traffic. If you travel outside of the city, even occasionally, the solutions proposed in the book are not realistic. I'm OK with that approach in general, because EVs work best in cities and at low speed, but you can't help but feel that the authors have written-off the needs of a lot of Americans.

THE VISION IS GRAND, TOO GRAND. The vision of the authors is sweeping. They envision a future with many USV (Ultra small vehicles) that roam the city streets. They can even pilot themselves, aided by vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to signal light, vehicle to pedestrian communications. The vehicles can move as a "swarm" of insects controlled by each others movements. The charging occurs by in-ground chargers built into all parking spaces and the vehicles travel in separate dedicated lanes apart from "normal" vehicles. Charging is fully optimized by "smart-grid" connections that have variable price models and the cars can both store and supply electricity, and on and on.

There is one ambitious idea after another in this book that makes it really seem unlikely that any of this will come to pass.

REDUNDANT, REDUNDANT. Each concept in this book is covered repeatedly in multiple chapters and sometimes in different ways in the same chapter adding little but length to the book.

Personally, I hope that the basic concept of the CityCar makes progress (it is on trial in Spain and is called Hiriko). Some of the other concepts will likely make some progress as well. But the book is too sweeping in its dull description of this fictional future world to hold much interest for anyone but a true-believer.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know
click to open popover