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Transportation Public Transportation

Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars?

Public Transit in the Age of Google, Uber, and Elon Musk

by (author) James Wilt

Between the Lines
Initial publish date
Apr 2020
Public Transportation, City Planning & Urban Development, Environmental Policy
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2020
    List Price

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Public transportation is in crisis. Through an assessment of the history of automobility in North America, the “three revolutions” in automotive transportation, as well as the current work of committed people advocating for a different way forward, James Wilt imagines what public transit should look like in order to be green and equitable. Wilt considers environment and climate change, economic and racial inequality, urban density, accessibility and safety, work and labour unions, privacy and control of personal data, as well as the importance of public and democratic decision-making.

Based on interviews with more than forty experts, including community activists, academics, transit planners, authors, and journalists, Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars? explores our ability to exert power over how cities are built and for whom.

About the author

James Wilt is a freelance journalist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He regularly contributes to The Narwhal, and has also written for VICE Canada, National Observer, CBC Calgary, Alberta Oil, Canadian Dimension and Briarpatch.

James Wilt's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Wilt cuts through the narratives of Silicon Valley billionaires and lays bare the equity problems with ride-hailing services, electric cars, and autonomous vehicles, while making the essential case that only a massive reinvestment in public transit with democratic, community control can achieve a future of transportation that is inclusive and sustainable. A must-read for anyone who cares about building a transport system that truly serves everyone while addressing the climate crisis.”

Paris Marx, freelance writer and editor of “Radical Urbanist”

“Will electric cars and ride-sharing platforms solve climate change? For James Wilt, these supposedly eco-friendly innovations are the latest in a long history of profit-driven threats to public transit. Wilt debunks the hype surrounding electric, autonomous vehicles and makes the case for a decarbonized future that guarantees mobility for everyone.”

Shelagh Pizey-Allen, executive director of TTCriders

“Wilt makes quick work dismantling the pervasive automobile industry myths that scaffold our car-dominant society. He provides both a road map for activists to internalize how our struggles over public transit are connected to other struggles and a vision of public transportation as the foundation of a truly just and democratic society.”

Kate Jacobson, labour organizer and podcast host of “Alberta Advantage ”

“In 2020, we stand at a critical juncture: will we democratize and decarbonize mass transit systems—or will we allow private electric vehicles to dominate our streets? In this lucid, accessible, and sharply argued book, James Wilt presents an inspiring vision of mobility justice for transit workers, riders, and broader communities. In the process, he deftly critiques the twin paradigms of automobility and austerity, which threaten to dismantle public transit in the United States, Canada, and beyond.”

Thea Riofrancos, co-author of “A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal”

“As the corporate class tries to squeeze every last breath from workers and the planet, Wilt’s book presents a long-awaited, sharply written, and indispensable blueprint for how to analyze and organize around mobility justice as a core pillar of climate justice. It’ll read even better on your commute!”

Simran Dhunna, organizer Climate Justice Toronto & Peel

“Well-researched and timely, Wilt’s book is a must-read for those interested in the nitty-gritty of climate politics. An engaging combination of data and political imagination, Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars? provides an important window into how revitalizing public transportation can address inequality and climate change in one fell swoop.”

Jessica F. Green, associate professor of political science, University of Toronto

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