Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
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I live in Los Angeles, and my daily commute subjects me to this city's infamous traffic. So why in the world would I want to read a book about traffic? After all, I live it every day. Well, whether you live in a crowded city or a small town off the interstate, Traffic turns out to be an interesting, worthwhile look at humans and their machines, what happens on the road, and why.
Traffic hooked me right off the bat with its provocative starting point: you're on the freeway in the right hand lane....more
That's the message I walked away from with this book. And it was a message that made me sit up and pay attention. Non-fiction is something I read sparingly. Something about long spans of data makes my mind drift off, so I'll realize I've read an entire page without actually absorbing anything. The fact that this book hooked me was rather surprising. A big part of it is the fact that Vanderbilt keeps the topics so pertinent to the nature of how we actually drive. It's an entir ...more
The most depressing chapters for me were in the first part of the book, when Vanderbilt describes the various una ...more
A couple of salient points, for me, are the ideas ...more
One element I disliked was the narrative voice. Much of the book is written in the first person plural, and many of the sentence structures are awkward. To wit: "So whether we're cocky, compensating for feeling fearful, or just plain clue ...more
Tom Vanderbilt should sue his editor. Mr. Vanderbilt obviously has voluminous knowledge on this subject but this is an endless ramble of facts, studies, insights and observations that not once; really, not one single time; is boiled up to a conclusion, an important trend or even a clear summary.
Believe me; I was eager to read this book. I drive ALL THE TIME and am very interested in why and how we perceive things on the road and what motivates ...more
But I may be a little biased toward liking anything about driving. I've always been a fan of the complexity in the subject, m ...more
While at times somewhat dry, mostly presented very well, with amusing asides and oft-frightening realizations. A book every driver should read!
"We have met the enemy and he is us," Walt Kelly once famously penned, but on the road, it seems we fancy ourselves much better drivers than all those people we wish would go away -- the tailgaters or those who leave too much space between cars; the lane-changers or those who stubbornly sit in one lane; those who merge too ...more
This book discusses some of the fallacies, research, and physiology of driving and road planning. Some of the ideas:
- Much of the problem with road design is not the concrete or the cars – it is the people
- Merging – Late merger is more effective for throughput. Use both lanes and then zipper merge. Helps the whole system and you individually. Even if it seems unfair.
- Differential speed limits – i.e. h trucks are given a ...more
Reading the book, I arrived at the depressing conclusion that traffic jams will never – seriously, never – go away, no matter how many lane-widening projects the government undertakes, or new expressways are built. Every new lane/road will just encourage mo ...more
Scores of si ...more
The book as a whole has no coherent theme, no overall message, no driving purpose. It is a collec ...more
Looks like I'll have to do my own research. While Vanderbilt somewhat succeeds at relaying the history of traffic and how certain esoteric drivin ...more
Are you an early merger or late merger? Do you text and drive? Do you think you are a better driver than most (I know I certainly do)? This book takes you through many intersections of traffic , safety, and human reasoning. The majority of accidents happen at intersections. also more accidents happen when people try to stop for a light, but more fatalities happen when lights are fun.We get an insight into LA traffic controls on Oscar night. Also, how one traffic controller takes to th ...more
* The white dotted divider lines on freeway lanes are 10-15 feet in length. They look shorter because of an optical illusion caused by the speed of the car.
* We judge speed by the rate at which objects appear to increase in size and the distance at which we can make judgements about speed becomes shorter and shorter as speeds increase.
* The more dangerous a road *feels* the more safe it is in almost every instance.
* "risk homeostasis" - after making any aspect of driving safer, d ...more
His first mission is to convince you to become a 'late merger', even if your spouse cringes as you fly along in the left lane passing all the other chumps obediently taking their turn at a lane drop. 'Late merging' increases the traffic throughtput by as much as 15% because it uses the full volume of the roadway. So indulge your Type ...more