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Driverless cars. Electric cars. Dedicated bus routes. Streetcars. Bike lanes. Walkable downtowns.
All over America, the transportation landscape is changing, and people are fascinated by what may lie ahead (like Volkswagen's electric Microbus, pictured above.)
But, it's still difficult to find the information you need to know what's coming next. Some news outlets cover cars. Others cover technology. Rarely does one cover both. And there hasn't been much coverage of how all these new transportation trends on the places where we live.
That's this journalism project comes in.
Curbing Cars is asking for your help to launch The Curbing Cars Newsletter. We want to make it easy for you to find out about the future of transportation, and everything that will mean.
What exactly will I be funding?
We plan to publish a weekly newsletter, with original journalism content in every issue. We think a newsletter is the best format to serve our audience, which is passionate about everything to do with the way we get around, but doesn't have time to go hunting for information.
Every week, the newsletter will lead off with an original story about a mobility topic.
There will be interviews with key players, visits to places with new mobility ideas, and test drives of the vehicles people are talking about, like the electric 2CV that you see here. You'll be first to hear about stories that we know you'll want to share with like-minded people (and won't you look smart when you do so?)
The Curbing Cars newsletter also will alert you to need-to-know stories and events in the mobility world, with everything from auto show coverage to new transportation projects and changes underway in cities and neighborhoods.
As backers, you will get your newsletter ahead of our public subscription list, and as fresh content is posting on CurbingCars.com. You'll have our scoops first, giving you time to digest and share them.
What's Your Track Record?
The original Curbing Cars journalism project was oversubscribed in 2013, thanks to our 124 backers.
It project resulted in our our eBook, Curbing Cars: America's Independence From The Auto Industry, published by FORBES in 2014. It is the most successful eBook of any that FORBES has published.
We alerted readers that attitudes towards automobiles were changing, especially among younger consumers. We predicted that the growth of Uber and ZipCar, and discussed how they could change the way cities looked. We talked about how lifestyles were changing, as the country became less dependent on individually owned cars.
Who am I funding?
Curbing Cars' creator is Micheline Maynard -- or as some viewers of PBS NewsHour call her, "The Car Lady." Micki has been writing and broadcasting about the automobile and airline industries for a long time, and she's always been on the lookout for new ideas and trends.
You might remember her ground-breaking 2003 book, The End Of Detroit: How The Big Three Lost Their Grip On The American Car Market, which saw the automakers' financial crisis coming years before it happened.
Relying on the same instincts that helped her spot the looming financial demise in Detroit, she spotted the evolving shift in transportation while she was Detroit Bureau Chief for the New York Times.
You might have read a recent Times story about the way people view their views. Well, here's one of her first stories from 2009 about how people were rethinking the way they got around, called "Happiness Is No Longer That New Car Smell.
A few years later, she was teaching media entrepreneurship at Central Michigan University (#FireUpChips) and decided to become a media entrepreneur herself.
That led to CurbingCars.com, and the Kickstarter that produced the Curbing Cars eBook.
She's continued to write and talk about key topics in the media and in transportation, for Forbes and programs such as NPR's Here & Now, where she spent the 2016 election campaign as senior editor.
Here are some of Micki's recent stories and broadcasts.
And here are some links to stories about the issues covered in the Curbing Cars eBook.
Why am I funding this?
Curbing Cars has always been a crowd sourced, independent project, focusing on facts and data. We want the newsletter to continue in that tradition. We may eventually find a home with a news organization, but we'll stay focused on journalism you can't find elsewhere.
If you follow politics or media, you know these are turbulent times. Many topics that are important to the country aren't getting the attention they deserve. Here's a way to assure that mobility does.
Many people are looking for a way to support journalism. Here's an opportunity to help an independent project report and useful information that will affect everyone in the world.
Who's backing you?
We're so grateful to have some of the smartest names in journalism among our backers. Here's a sample.
How are you spending the money?
The bigger the budget we have, the broader our journalism can be. The original Curbing Cars project focused mainly on North America. But, mobility developments are happening all over the world, from London to Copenhagen, Sao Paulo to Beijing, and of course, everything happening in the USA and Canada.
Where do I come in?
We want you to partner with us so that we can give a global view of mobility. Your funds will be spent on research and reporting, as well as creating and distributing the newsletter.
But we also want your input. You're on the front lines of the change in our society. We're interested in your personal stories about mobility, and we're happy to give you space to tell them.
Maybe you recently bought an electric car, like a Tesla or a Nissan or a Chevrolet. Perhaps you're riding your bike to work. Or, you walk or take public transportation rather than own a car at all. Perhaps your trusty Honda has close to 1 million miles.
We want to meet you, too. We plan to hold some events for backers in Ann Arbor, Chicago and Toronto, which your funding will make possible. We'll pattern them after the Issues And Ale series at Michigan Radio, where newsmakers and journalists help an audience understand important issues.
This is a big topic, so we're planning to get some reporting help. We have some talented young journalists to lined up to contribute to our project, but we don't expect them to work for free. So, you'll be helping a new generation of reporters and broadcasters learn about the future of transportation, and improve coverage for everyone.
And, some very lucky journalists will get a chance to have an edit session with Micki and our editorial team, getting story and career feedback
Your support is crucial to helping the Curbing Cars Newsletter come to life. Thanks for your support of our journalism -- and please tell your friends about what we're doing!
Risks and challenges
We think a newsletter is the best way to reach our specialized audience. But to be most effective, people need to open it and read and digest the stories that we report and curate. It's possible our audience might subscribe, but then ignore our newsletter.
Transportation remains a touchy subject for automotive and technology companies alike. Executives may not want to talk about their latest efforts. And, the projects we write about may not pan out the way their creators hope.
There's always a danger that mobility will fall off the audience's radar. After all, we're living in an era of record auto sales. Just because there are self-driving cars doesn't mean people or companies will want to use them. Maybe our topic is a fad, and not a shift. (We don't think so, but it pays to be prepared.)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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