Watching the Traffic Go By

As twentieth-century city planners invested in new transportation systems to deal with urban growth, they ensured that the automobile rather than mass transit would dominate transportation. Combining an exploration of planning documents, sociological studies, and popular culture, The author shows how our urban infrastructure developed and how it has shaped American culture ever since. This book emphasizes the narratives underlying perceptions of innovations in transportation by looking at the stories that have been built around these innovations. The author finds such stories in the General Motors "Futurama" exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair, debates in Munsey's magazine, films such as Double Indemnity, and even in footage of the O. J. Simpson chase along Los Angeles freeways. Juxtaposed with other contemporaneous critiques the author argues that these narratives celebrated new technologies that fostered stability for business and the white middle class. At the same time, transportation became another system of excluding women and the poor, especially African Americans, by isolating them in homes and urban ghettos. A timely, interdisciplinary analysis, the book exposes the ugly side of transportation politics through the seldom-used lens of popular culture.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Texas Press

    P.O. Box 7819
    Austin, TX  United States  78713-7819
  • Authors:
    • Fotsch, Paul Mason
  • Publication Date: 2007


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: 240p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01108718
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780292714250
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 18 2008 4:56PM