Traffic Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)
One of the Best Books of the Year
"The Washington Post" - "The Cleveland Plain-Dealer" - "Rocky Mountain News"
In this brilliant, lively, and eye-opening investigation, Tom Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians fro...more
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
The most depressing chapters for me were in the first part of the book, when Vanderbilt describes the various una...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
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
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
Scores of si...more
I'm usually pretty conservative with my ratings, but I had to give it the 5th star because of its applicability. It's something that most of us do every day, but there aren't many books on the subject.
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
Concuerdo con muchos de los otros reseñadores de Goodreads: el libro esta lleno de detalles, hechos y pseudo-hechos ("factoids") interesantes, pero a la larga el libro resulta curiosamente cansón. Creo que...more
Instead of anchoring to one or two sweeping conclusions (like Gladwell) and pressing into their service some interesting anecdotes, Vanderbilt goes into a dizzying array of factoids and stories about traffic without necessary trying to tie them all together. I...more
Women account for the most traffic congestion because of "trip chaining"? Apparently, even if they have a full-time job, they still do the majority of the household errands and taxi driving. According to the book, men overwhelmingly drive as if they do not even have a family, i.e. just to work and back. The 90s saw an uptick in middle-aged male trip chaining...it's called the "Starbucks effect." No joke!
Cyclists suffer few...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
* 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
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
The book as a whole has no coherent theme, no overall message, no driving purpose. It is a collec...more