With stunning visuals and encyclopedic insight, the author of The Heights and The Works reveals how humans move across the globe by land, sea, and air
In our digital age, it's easy to forget that almost everything we enjoy about modern life depends on motion. We ride in cars and on buses and trains to work; enjoy food shipped over oceans; fly high in the sky to any point on the planet. Over the last century, the world has come to rely on its ability to move just about anywhere effortlessly. But what prompted this transformation? What inventions allowed it to happen? And how do the vehicles and systems that keep us in motion today—airports, trains, cars, and satellites—really work?
Exploring our incredible interconnected world is the task of Kate Ascher's The Way to Go: Moving by Sea, Land, and Air. Lusciously illustrated and meticulously researched, The Way to Go reveals the highly complex and largely invisible network of global transportation. How is cargo moved from inland factory to seaside port, and how is it transferred from shore to ship? How do ships and planes navigate their routes without landmarks? What happens under the hood of a car or in the undercarriage of a people mover? How did planes become cheaper than ships or trains? Why are some spaceships reusable and others not? What tools are needed to build today's immense bridges and tunnels, and what ensures they don't collapse? How does a helicopter really stay aloft? What happens when lightning strikes an airplane or when one satellite crashes with another? What will the car of tomorrow look like?
Focusing on the machines that underpin our lives, Ascher's The Way to Go also introduces the systems that keep those machines in business—the emergency communication networks that connect ships at sea, the automated tolling mechanisms that maintain the flow of highway traffic, the air control network that keeps planes from colliding in the sky. Equally fascinating are the technologies behind these complex systems: baggage-tag readers that make sure people's bags go where they need to; automated streetlights that adjust their timing based on traffic flow; GPS devices that pinpoint where we are on earth at any second. Together these technologies move more people farther, faster, and more cheaply than at any other time in history.
As our lives and our businesses become more entwined with others across the globe, there has never been a better time to understand how transportation works. Indispensable and unforgettable, Kate Ascher's The Way to Go is a gorgeous graphic guide to a world moving as never before.
Kate Ascher serves on the faculty of Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and manages Happold Consulting's U.S. practice. Prior to taking up her current positions, she worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and Vornado Realty Trust. Her books include The Works: Anatomy of a City and The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper.