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About this book

For the first time in half a century, real transformative innovations are coming to our world of passenger transportation. The convergence of new shared mobility services with automated and electric vehicles promises to significantly reshape our lives and communities for the better—or for the worse.
The dream scenario could bring huge public and private benefits, including more transportation choices, greater affordability and accessibility, and healthier, more livable cities, along with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The nightmare scenario could bring more urban sprawl, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and unhealthy cities and individuals.

In Three Revolutions, transportation expert Dan Sperling, along with seven other leaders in the field, share research–based insights on potential public benefits and impacts of the three transportation revolutions. They describe innovative ideas and partnerships, and explore the role government policy can play in steering the new transportation paradigm toward the public interest—toward our dream scenario of social equity, environmental sustainability, and urban livability.
Many factors will influence these revolutions—including the willingness of travelers to share rides and eschew car ownership; continuing reductions in battery, fuel cell, and automation costs; and the adaptiveness of companies. But one of the most important factors is policy.
Three Revolutions offers policy recommendations and provides insight and knowledge that could lead to wiser choices by all. With this book, Sperling and his collaborators hope to steer these revolutions toward the public interest and a better quality of life for everyone.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Will the Transportation Revolutions Improve Our Lives—or Make Them Worse?

We love our cars. Or at least we love the freedom, flexibility, convenience, and comfort they offer. That love affair has been clear and unchallenged since the advent of the Model T a century ago. No longer. Now the privately owned, human-driven, gasoline-powered automobile is being attacked from many directions, with change threatening to upend travel and transportation as we know it. The businesses of car making and transit supply—never mind taxis, road building, and highway funding—are about to be disrupted. And with this disruption will come a transformation of our lifestyles. The signs are all around us.
Daniel Sperling, Susan Pike, Robin Chase

Chapter 2. Electric Vehicles: Approaching the Tipping Point

In the last three decades, electric vehicles (EVs) have vastly improved in every way—in cost, performance, efficiency, and availability to consumers. My own history with EVs shows how much.
Daniel Sperling

Chapter 3. Shared Mobility: The Potential of Ridehailing and Pooling

Ridesharing is older than horse-and-buggy travel, and recent innovations make sharing easier, more convenient, and more efficient than ever before. Innovative mobility services premised on pooling can lower travel costs, mitigate congestion, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also offer travelers more mobility choices beyond the traditional bookends of auto ownership and public transit. While the realm of shared mobility is vast, including shared bikes, scooters, and cars, the focus of this chapter is on pooled services—placing more people in a single vehicle. Doing so unlocks huge economic, social, and environmental benefits.
Susan Shaheen

Chapter 4. Vehicle Automation: Our Best Shot at a Transportation Do-Over?

From San Francisco to Shanghai, the car of the future is automated. Automakers and tech companies are racing to develop, test, and bring cars to market with a dizzying array of new information and automation technologies. Every new model year brings more innovation and announcements about the future. But what exactly are these companies bringing to market, and how automated will these cars really be? Do we call them autonomous or automated or driverless, and what does that even mean? Will they really transform transportation as we know it? The spin is confusing and bewildering.
Daniel Sperling, Ellen van der Meer, Susan Pike

Chapter 5. Upgrading Transit for the Twenty-First Century

In the United States, cars have increased their dominance over public transit. Overall, transit accounts for only about 2 percent of passenger trips in the United States and about 1 percent of passenger miles. Even in the developing world, transit has lost market share to cars. Public transit is struggling. As the world changes, public transit needs to reinvent itself.
Steven E. Polzin, Daniel Sperling

Chapter 6. Bridging the Gap between Mobility Haves and Have-Nots

Grace is a single mom with two kids living in Koreatown in Los Angeles. High housing costs have put car ownership out of reach for Grace, so she regularly suffers through a long, complicated morning and afternoon travel grind. Each weekday, she rises at 5:30 a.m. to dress and feed her children and walk them four blocks to her cousin Lydia’s apartment; Lydia then walks Grace’s daughter to daycare and her son to elementary school while Grace makes a seventy-five-minute, two-bus trek from Koreatown to her job as a teacher’s aide in Westchester. The trip home in the afternoon is just as lengthy and complex, and Grace struggles to get dinner on the table for her children by 7:00 p.m. each evening.
Anne Brown, Brian D. Taylor

Chapter 7. Remaking the Auto Industry

Henry Ford built his first vehicle, which he called the quadricycle, over the course of about six months. Both his wife, Clara, and his friend James Bishop chipped in substantially. A decade and a half later, the Ford Motor Company built its ten millionth automobile. The comparison to Henry Ford’s quadricycle effort is stark: the Model T factory employed roughly five thousand times as many laborers and took about 1/2000th the amount of time to build a car. This staggering increase in scale and efficiency was facilitated by the introduction of the assembly line in 1908. Over the coming century, that simple innovation would expand the frontier of manufacturing efficiency to dizzying effect. The assembly line would progressively destroy and reconstitute the global economy in a giant wave of creative destruction—forever optimizing efficiency of production and churning out goods for a world of hungry consumers. Today, that line remains the beating heart of the global manufacturing economy.
Levi Tillemann

Chapter 8. The Dark Horse: Will China Win the Electric, Automated, Shared Mobility Race?

Chinese leaders find themselves confronted with a massive, self-inflicted threat: the worst air quality in the world. Today’s educated middle-class urban dwellers are angry about the pollution and the associated health risks. This constituency poses a real danger to those in power. As a result, Chinese president Xi Jinping and his comrades on the Politburo feel an urgent need to find solutions, including making full use of new technologies to combat pollution and congestion.
Michael J. Dunne


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