Ghost Road (Hardcover)

Beyond the Driverless Car

By Anthony M. Townsend

W. W. Norton & Company, 9781324001522, 320pp.

Publication Date: June 9, 2020

List Price: 27.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A penetrating look at near-future disruption as truly autonomous vehicles arrive.

For decades we have tried to build a car that will drive itself. Anthony M. Townsend’s Ghost Road argues convincingly that the driverless car is a red herring. When self-driving technology infects buses, bikes, delivery vans, and even buildings, a wild, woollier, future awaits.

Technology will transform life behind the wheel into a hi-def video game that makes our ride safer, smoother, and more efficient. Meanwhile, autonomous vehicles will turbocharge our appetite for the instant delivery of goods, making the future as much about moving stuff as it is about moving people. For-profit companies will link the automated machines that move us to the cloud, raising concerns about mobility monopolies and privatization of “the curb.” Our cities and towns will change as we embrace new ways to get around.

Ghost Road explains where we might be headed together in driverless vehicles, and the choices we must make as societies and individuals to shape that future.

About the Author

Anthony Townsend is president of Asterisk City Group, a forecasting and urban planning collaborative based in New York City, and the author of Smart Cities. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.