The car, mass motorisation and the way forward
Mans relationship to the car is full of contrasts: It symbols freedom, but is hated by the environmentalists. It is both a speed marvel and a killing machine. Your car is supposed to signal your identity, but it is also just a convenient triviality. We both love and hate the car.
In reporting the book with the working title “Med bilen i førersetet” («The car in the driver’s seat») I want to tell stories that will give the readers some eye-opening experiences. The shall discover some contexts they haven’t been aware of before.
The car is said to be the single phenomenon that has changed society most in the last hundred years. We love it and we hate it – why? And have we reached ‘peak car’?
About the Author: Andreas Grimsæth
I am a Norwegian journalist and writer with a sociological angle and an interest in environmental questions. Since 2005 I have been at The Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. (NRK) where I have worked with the weather and climate site yr.no and the hiking and nature site UT.no since the two web services started, as well as the news site NRK.no.
In 2013 I am working on a documentary book about how the car has changed us and the world, and how the future of transportation will be. This will be my first book.
The book will be published in Norwegian but I will also do some interviews and reporting in the US and in Europe.
Like to know more? Read on!
Through stories, inspiring examples and facts I will take readers on a journey in our relationship to the vehicle in a manner which newspapers, car magazines and research rarely get to. Along the way we meet people who help us to understand dominant role the car has taken over the last century and its possible role in the future. I will try to find answers to questions like these:
Why are we so love our cars? Why do always the dads drive the family car? What is automobility and what kind of power does it have? Does the music on the radio make us dangerous drivers? Why are we ‘always’ stuck in traffic jam? How did the car become the place we are closest to our families?
Why are we so keen on speed? Why can’t high motoring costs stop us from driving? Where did the hitchhikers go? What would have happened if the car were invented today? Why are not all cars emission-free? Why all the road rage? How can the cars be the world’s batteries?
Automobility and mass motoring has changed society and created a lot of positive changes. Now is the scope of private cars has become so large that the negative consequences are starting to overshadow the positive. Although we construct new roads we are ‘always’ stuck in traffic while the air is filled with gases and energy consumption are skyrocketing. When Norwegians were allowed to freely buy private cars in 1960 the car was still considered a luxury. Twenty years later it was a matter of course.
Many people have a strong emotional, cultural, practical and habit characterized relations to the car. For others, however, the car has gone from being meaning freedom and class to be a practical triviality and economic expenditure.
How can we continue passenger transport in a satisfactory manner without filling the cities with cars, air with exhaust and hospitals with traffic victims? People under the age of 30 are waiting longer to get their driver’s licenses and buying fewer cars. Why and what does that tell us about the future for motoring?