outside the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. I looked out over acres of glinting windshields in a packed parking lot. I’d reached this spot by driving from Ann Arbor on the I-94, where the highway sometimes reaches 12 lanes across, in a little over an hour. Public transit would have taken me three and a half hours. What would Henry Ford think, one hundred years after the birth of the car? Pride or horror?
It took 50 years to transition from the horse to the car. Surely few could have imagined the impact the car would have as it tore through cities, countries, and economies worldwide. Today, average Americans spend almost two of their eight hours at work paying off their car, which they need to get to that job. Last year in the US, more than 38,000 people died and 4.4 million were seriously injured due to motorized transport. Farther afield, in Singapore, 12 percent of the island nation’s scarce land is devoted to car infrastructure. In Delhi, 2.2 million children have irreversible lung damage because of poor air quality.