'Curbing Cars' With a Kickstart

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Forbes contributor Micheline Maynard has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the research and marketing of her new book, Curbing Cars, about the sea change going on in personal transportation.

Ms. Maynard is former Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times and has written four books, including The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Industry.

"People are driving less and public transit use is at record levels. Bike sharing programs are popping up everywhere and there are dozens of apps to help you find a taxi, or how to rent a car for a few hours," Ms. Maynard says. "Home buyers want to live in walkable communities and young people are in no rush to get driver's licenses or afford new cars. In short, we're rethinking how we get around."

Curbing Cars is a journalism project that plans to explain why this is happening. The assumption is that cars aren't going away but remain an essential element of American culture. Ms. Maynard poses that the car of the future might be shared, and that it could be that car ownership is peaking.

"We're at the beginning of a major shift in how the world gets around, yet no one seems to know what's next," said Jalopnik.com's Matt Hardigree. "It's the question on the mind of every car enthusiast, product planner, and CEO with enormous consequences for the industry and environment. Micki is one of the shrewdest analysts and best storytellers in the automotive world. If anyone is going to figure it out, it's going to be her."

Curbing Cars wants to be the leading repository for information about alternatives to automobiles. In this way, it seeks to provide service and information but also analysis as to what the future holds for the auto industry.

Ms. Maynard is joined in the project by Rick Meier, Curbing Cars' director of research. Mr. Meier is a historian and communications specialist based in Toronto, and his data is featured on all of Curbing Cars' platforms.

"We all have to get places," said Kai Ryssdal, the host of Marketplace on public radio. "We have meetings to go to, errands to run, things to do. That's not going to change. What is changing, and what Micki Maynard and Rick Meier are going to explain and analyze for us in Curbing Cars, is how we're going to get to those places and what that's going to mean for our society, our economy and our everyday lives."

He went on, "Think for a second about how big those changes will be and it becomes clear pretty quickly how valuable this project is."

The Kickstarter campaign will run through August 12. Its goal is to raise at least $10,000 in funds for the Curbing Cars Ebook, which is expected to be published in 2014. The money raised will pay for travel, research and writing time, and marketing expenses.

Campaign supporters pledging $10 or more will receive a voucher for a copy of the Curbing Cars Ebook, but those pledging $25 or more will also receive the Curbing Cars PDF guide to sharing and transit. Public transit, biking and walking tours in Chicago, Detroit and Toronto led by either Ms. Maynard or Mr. Meier are available for $75 or more. Or supporters can add a Curbing Cars beverage container (china, water bottle or car mug available) for $100 or more.

For a pledge of $1,000 or more, Ms. Maynard or Mr. Meier will speak via Skype to groups about the Curbing Cars project. For $5,000 or more, they will speak to groups in person and provide Ebook vouchers for participants. Anyone pledging as little as a dollar will receive a Curbing Cars license plate logo sticker and the monthly Curbing Cars newsletter.

For more information on Curbing Cars, visit CurbingCars.com, follow @curbingcars on Twitter, 'like' the Curbing Cars Facebook page, and check out the Curbing Cars Tumblr.

CONTACT: Media Contact: Gareth Edmondson-Jones GEJ Ink 917 399-9355 GEJink@gmail.comSource:Micheline Maynard