chapter  36
Google buses and uber cars
The politics of tech mobility and the future of urban liveability
ByJason Henderson
Pages 12

Fusing smart phone apps and nanotechnology with conventional buses and cars, companies such as Google and Uber have introduced distinctive configurations and flows of urban travel which to varying degrees are spreading, or have potential to spread, globally. Since the mid-2000s large technology companies based in the San Francisco Bay Area have superimposed a new 'tech mobility' over the existing transportation palimpsest of the metropolis. Tech mobility's liveability emphasis imagines urban comprised of car parking stalls converted to housing, streets retrofitted to bikeways and parks, and renewable energy and electrification making urban transport carbon-free. Tech buses also indirectly accommodate conservative land use politics in the Bay Area's wealthier low-density suburbs. While private tech buses are limited to the Bay Area and other high-tech urban centres like Seattle, political pushback in San Francisco reveals tensions over tech mobility's political project of neoliberal liveability.