Industry titans Alphabet, Amazon, and GM are on the verge of rolling out robotaxis across North America. Cities struggled to respond to the rise of ride-hail. Are they better prepared for the restructuring of urban mobility markets that lies ahead? Will automation drive the creation of new “traction monopolies”? Could algorithmic manipulation play havoc on progressive policies like congestion pricing? What have we learned from financialization in other essential urban goods and services that can inform how we shape the markets for digital and automated mobility?

This session drew upon Anthony Townsend’s 2020 book Ghost Road: Beyond the Driverless Car to reveal what we can learn from past technological transformations of urban transportation as we consider the prospects for digital mobility markets and how automation could radically reshape roles, rights, and responsibilities for everyone involved. Transportation technology consultant Andrew Salzberg, series co-host, joined us as a discussant.