University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

October 23, 2017

From car bans to driverless vehicles

September 25, 2017

From car bans to driverless vehicles

Old school: U-M in History

Topic: History

Students protested against President Clarence Cook Little's ban on cars by roller-skating in the Diag for days. (Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library)

While the University of Michigan is a major research site for auto innovation, cars were not always welcome on the university's campus. During the early 1900s, student drivers found themselves in wrecks and alternatively "'parking' in shady hideaways." In 1925, President Clarence Cook Little instituted a partial ban on automobiles, which allowed only upperclassmen in good academic standing to keep cars. When that didn't work, he put into place a total ban, whereby no student could operate a motor vehicle. Although the ban was met with student protests and attempts to circumvent the rules, after a couple of years, "few students remained who had enjoyed the motorized free-for-all of the pre-1927 era." Nowadays, students use all types of transportation to get to and from class and activities. Starting this fall, they'll have one more possible mode to get around North Campus: a driverless shuttle service.

— Compiled from "Car Craze" by James Tobin, Michigan Today

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