Bio

B.S. ​University of Delaware, 1985M.S. ​University of Delaware, 1989Ph.D. ​University of Virginia, 2002

"I study the past and the future of urban mobility, seeking ways to improve sustainability, health, and equity. I prepare engineering students to contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future."

Peter Norton, Associate Professor

Peter Norton is associate professor of history in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia, where he teaches history of technology, social dimensions of engineering, research, and professional ethics. He is the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City (MIT Press), and of Autonorama: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving (Island Press, 2021). In 2018-19 Norton was a visiting faculty member at the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. His article “Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street,” published in Technology and Culture, won the Abbott Payson Usher Prize of the Society for the History of Technology. He has published work in transportation history and policy, traffic safety, and autonomous vehicles. He is a member of the University of Virginia’s Center for Transportation Studies. Norton is a winner of the Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize and of the Trigon Engineering Society’s Hutchinson Award “for dedication and excellence in teaching.” He is a frequent speaker on the subject of sustainable and equitable urban mobility.

Awards

  • Abbott Payson Usher Prize of the Society for the History of Technology for “the best scholarly work published during the preceding three years under the auspices of the Society for the History of Technology.”
  • Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize
  • Trigon Engineering Society’s Hutchinson Award “for dedication and excellence in teaching”

Research Interests

  • Urban Mobility
  • Smart Buildings/Cities
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Infrastructure Engineering/Transportation Studies
  • Science, Technology and Society

Selected Publications

  • Autonorama: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving (Island Press, 2021). ABS Peter D. Norton
  • Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City (MIT Press, 2008). ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Urban Transport and Mobility in Technology and Culture,” Technology and Culture 61 no. 4 (Oct. 2020), 1197-1211. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “History as Motordom’s Tool of Agenda Legitimation: Twentieth-Century U.S. Mobility Trajectories,” in A U-Turn to the Future: Sustainable Urban Mobility Since 1850, edited by Martin Emanuel, Frank Schipper, and Ruth Oldenziel (New York: Berghahn, 2020), c ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Persistent Pedestrianism: Urban Walking in Motor Age America,” Urban History (Cambridge U.P.), Nov. 2019, 1-24. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “An Honest History of How America Pays for Roads,” Financial Times, Feb 8, 2019. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Eisenhower and the Interstate System,” in Crucible: The President’s First Year, ed. Michael Nelson, Jeffrey L. Chidester, and Stefanie Georgakis Abbott (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018), 149–54. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Infrastructure: Streets, Roads, and Highways” (26 pp.) Oxford Research Encyclopedia: American History (Oxford University Press, 2016). ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Going Faster in the Wrong Direction? History’s Lessons for the Future of Roads and Streets,” Linking the Past to the Future: Lessons from History about Emerging Technology, ed. Martin Wachs (Washington: Transportation Research Board, 2015), 5-9. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Four Paradigms: Traffic Safety in the Twentieth-Century United States,” Technology and Culture 56:2 (April 2015), 319-34. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Of Love Affairs and Other Stories” (book chapter), in Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, and Possibilities, edited by Stephen Zavestoski and Julian Agyeman (London: Routledge, 2015), ch. 2 (pp. 17-35). ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Jaywalking,” Encyclopedia of Street Crime in America, ed. Jeffrey Ian Ross. Sage Publications, March 2013. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Americans’ Affair of Hate with the Automobile: What the Love Affair Fiction Concealed” Automobile: les cartes du désamour, edited by Mathieu Flonneau. Paris: Descartes & Cie., 2010. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Urban Mobility without Wheels: A Historiographical Review of Pedestrianism.” Mobility in History (Yearbook of the International Association for Traffic, Transport and Mobility), 2009. ABS Peter D. Norton
  • “Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street.” Technology and Culture 48 (April 2007), 331-359. ABS Peter D. Norton

Courses Taught

  • History of Technology
  • STS and Engineering Practice
  • The Engineer, Ethics, and Professional Responsibility
  • Creative Power: The History of Modern Technology
  • Revolutionary Ideas in History (for the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program)
  • Twentieth-Century America (for the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program)