Major Department

Journalism and Mass Communication


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2019

Honors Major Advisor

Travis Vogan

Thesis Mentor

Meenakshi Gigi Durham


This series of three in-depth journalistic commentaries explores the intersecting factors which contribute to car dependency in the United States, urging that mobility be considered in broader and more accessible terms. As 21st-century technology introduces a turning point in the history of transportation, there is no question that our conception of the car is going to change. It's likely that in 20 years people will not drive, but the question remains whether they will still own personal vehicles. These three stories trace the car's relationship to federal, fiscal and police power to argue that driving has become a necessity for socioeconomic success in the U.S. but is still treated as a privilege. "Counting the Costs of Car Culture" argues that Americans reclaim mobility and rethink the personal, economic and environmental costs of car culture before driver-less technology ushers in a new age of driving that exacerbates the same issues of equity. In the first commentary, "Why It's Time for a Mobility Rights Movement in the U.S.," research at the National Advanced Driving Simulator offers a lens to consider how federal investment in private roads and automobiles neglects the viability of transit as a safe alternative to one of the country's most notorious killers: car crashes. The second commentary, "The Private Vehicle is a Threat to Public Equity," interrogates American roads for the way they facilitate racial discrimination by creating exclusions to the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. The third commentary examines the relationship between built environment and conscious decision making to try answering the question for which it's named: "Transportation is Changing, Who Decides What's Next?"


Fourth Amendment, car culture, driving, transportation, transit, driverless cars

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Copyright © 2019 Brooke Clayton

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License