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Taken for a Ride

by Jim Klein and Martha Olson

Why Does America Have the Worst Public Transit in the Industrialized World, and the Most Freeways?

Why Does America Have the Worst Public Transit in the Industrialized World, and the Most Freeways? Taken for a Ride reveals the tragic and little known story of an auto and oil industry campaign, led by General Motors, to buy and dismantle streetcar lines. Across the nation, tracks were torn up, sometimes overnight, and diesel buses placed on city streets. The highway lobby then pushed through Congress a vast network of urban freeways that doubled the cost of the Interstates, fueled suburban development, increased auto dependence, and elicited passionate opposition. Seventeen city freeways were stopped by citizens who would become the leading edge of a new environmental movement. With investigative journalism, vintage archival footage and candid interviews, Taken for a Ride presents a revealing history of our cities in the 20th century that is also a meditation on corporate power, city form, citizen protest and the social and environmental implications of transportation. Taken for a Ride was funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

John Anderson
full review

Bill Marvel
Dallas Morning News
full review

quoteAN EXCELLENT DOCUMENTARY! Though this material has been known to scholars for some time, Taken for a Ride pays careful attention to the historical record and uses exciting vintage footage. It should make this rather sordid story known to a far wider public. It is highly recommended for classroom use.
Professor Richard Schott
LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas

quoteA TRAGICALLY IMPORTANT STORY. This valuable documentary should be seen by anyone interested in the crises of America's cities and suburbs.
James Kunstler
Author, The Geography of Nowhere

quoteFASCINATING...Taken for a Ride offers strong evidence. It raises unsettling historical questions about why public transit has let the public down.
Caryn James
New York Times

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  • PBS National Broadcast, P.O.V.

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