Book cover of Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation by Paris Marx

Tech Won’t Save Us host Paris Marx breaks down the flaws in Silicon Valley’s technological visions for transportation, and makes a compelling argument for deep structural changes to create a sustainable mobility system that serves the public good.

Advance praise

The last decade has been a trainwreck for Silicon Valley's dreams of mobility. Paris Marx’s invaluable new book explains how and why big tech’s utopian transit projects crashed and burned, why these disasters will keep finding funding if they are not opposed, and what the alternative might look like. The path to a better, more equitable future of transit begins with the Road to Nowhere.

- Brian Merchant, author of The One Device

An astute and engaging critique of Silicon Valley’s visions for transportation, Road to Nowhere highlights the problems of technology being driven by the needs of capital and crafts a compelling vision of a world where technology is instead used to deliver social good.

- Wendy Liu, author of Abolish Silicon Valley

A lively summary of the ways Big Tech has distracted us from the urgent task of making our cities work for everyone.

- Jarrett Walker, transit consultant and author of Human Transit

Paris Marx has written a probing look at the origins of automotive supremacy. A good storyteller and a ruthless critic, Marx shows us how corporate interests created our highly irrational modern-day mobility regime, and how Silicon Valley threatens to summon even stupider transportation futures. If you care about how your body moves through space, you should read this book.

- Ben Tarnoff, co-founder of Logic Magazine and author of Internet for the People

By combining intriguing histories with criticism of modern technology, Marx becomes our indispensable guide for understanding how those in power are shaping our transport landscape. This book is a persuasive account of the many problems with the tech industry, but also a compelling case for how we can change the physical environment in service of people and the planet, rather than capital.

- Lizzie O’Shea, founder of Digital Rights Watch and author of Future Histories

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Why Elon Musk and the Silicon Valley visionaries have the future of transport so wrong

Silicon Valley wants us to believe that technology will revolutionise our cities and the ways we move around. Autonomous vehicles will make us safer, greener, and more efficient. On-demand services like Uber and Lyft will eliminate car ownership. Micromobility devices like electric scooters will be at every corner, and drones will deliver goods and services. Meanwhile visionaries like Elon Musk promise to eliminate congestion with tunnels, and Uber says it will help with flying cars. The future of transport is frictionless, sustainable, and, according to Paris Marx, a threat to our ideas of what a society should be.

Road to Nowhere exposes the problems with Silicon Valley’s visions of the future and argues that we cannot allow ourselves to be continually distracted by technological fantasies that delay the collective solutions we already know are effective. Technological solutions to social problems and the people who propose them must be challenged if we are to build cities and transportation systems which serve the public good.

Paris Marx offers a vision for a more collective way of organising transportation systems which considers the needs of poor, marginalised, and vulnerable peoples. The book also argues that rethinking mobility can be the first step in a broader reimagining of how we organise our social, economic, and political systems to serve the many, not the few.

Press and interviews

Road to Nowhere has also been covered around the world by 95bFM (New Zealand), A2larm (Czechia), ABC Radio National (Australia), Der Standard (Austria), DigiLabour (Brazil), Future Zone (Austria), Information (Denmark), Jornal de Notícias (Portugal), nd (Germany), and Usbek & Rica (France).

For podcast interviews, see this list.

More reviews and recommendations

Road to Nowhere is not the only text that criticizes the tech industry—especially these days—but it is the most concise, well-reasoned critique of that corner of the tech industry that most directly affects cities: transportation.

- Planetizen’s list of Top Urban Planning Books of 2022

This book makes it clear that Marx is not only a dynamic interviewer of other critics, but a vital critic in their own right. … Road to Nowhere presents an important read for those concerned with where Silicon Valley is driving us.

- Zachary Loeb, PhD candidate and Librarianshipwreck blogger

I’d read it on metro trips to and from work, turning to my friend after every few pages to exclaim, “You’ll never guess how we got screwed this time.”

- Jules Brown, bookseller at Drawn & Quarterly in Montreal

Paris Marx’s brilliant book on the history and future of the automotive industry shows how every technological step forward has proscribed the narrowing of our social horizons.

- Leo Hollis, editor at Verso Books

In Road to Nowhere, Paris Marx eviscerates a century of propaganda from the automobile industry and shows why we can’t trust Big Tech with the future of transport.

- James Muldoon, author of Platform Socialism

Technological determinism limits our ability to imagine more equitable, climate-friendly worlds, Marx writes.

- Ian Morse, writer of Green Rocks newsletter

If you want a nightmarish vision of the direction in which technology is taking transport, Paris Marx has painted just that chilling picture.

- Alastair Dalton, transport correspondent at The Scotsman

It’s an important reminder that a heavily subsidised taxi app was never the future of anything.

- Alex Hern, UK tech editor at The Guardian

An eye-opening look at the problematic approach tech companies have to transportation.

- The New Press

Road to Nowhere is a sharply rendered, compelling, and illuminating text … Marx’s work helps us better understand the past and contemplate the kind of futures we might bring about.

- Matthew James Seidel for Protean Magazine

Marx paints a picture of a sector gone wild … It’s a scathing read, and one that could make you want to buy a bicycle before a Tesla.

- Max Ufberg, senior staff editor at Fast Company

Takedowns of Silicon Valley are always fun, but Road to Nowhere offers more than that. Marx’s analyses offer insights that are thought-provoking and that have implications that extend beyond the cases at hand.

- Jacob Pleasants, contributor at Civics of Technology

Road to Nowhere traces the historical echo between automakers’ takeover of the North American continent and the present monopolistic powers of the tech industry.

- David A. Banks, author of The City Authentic

Road to Nowhere looks at how the quest for market share got us to this point and why visions of the future from California tech billionaires cannot solve these problems.

- Clement Nocos, policy director at Broadbent Institute

Paris Marx … persuasively argues that Silicon Valley’s approach to transportation reproduces the same car-centric bias that characterised American life for the last century, without addressing any of its harms.

- Agustin Ferrari Braun, University of Amsterdam lecturer

It is this isolationist thinking that Marx particularly deplores as he outlines his hopes for urban environments in which we, the people, can take back our streets.

- Wendy Grossman, contributor at ZDNet

Cities must be built for people and technology needs to serve the people – these are the key messages of Road to Nowhere.

- Konrad Bleyer-Simon, Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom

Marx examines our current thinking about the future of urban environments, exposing the catastrophic mistakes that arise from a profit-driven approach.

- Alta Journal

A photo of Paris Marx in front of a brick wall

About the author

Paris Marx is a Canadian tech critic and host of the award-winning Tech Won’t Save Us podcast. Their work has been published in Business Insider, NBC News, CBC News, Jacobin, Tribune, and many others. It has also been translated into more than ten languages.

Paris earned a Master’s degree in urban geography from McGill University, researching Silicon Valley’s efforts to transform how we move. They’ve also spoken internationally about the future of transportation.

Follow Paris on Twitter or visit their personal website.

About the publisher