Ken's review of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
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Feb 17, 2009 08:53am
The reviews I read when "Traffic" came out made it sound fantastic, but despite the fact that I live in Los Angeles -- or maybe because I live in Los Angeles -- I can't bring myself to read an entire book about traffic. After you're done reading it, can you just summarize the good parts for me?
Mar 10, 2009 08:00am
Excellent review, Ken. So should I, too, be waiting until the last moment to merge left when I'm in a freeway lane that's ending? What was Vanderbilt's justification?
Mar 10, 2009 08:03am
Sounds like a very interesting book on a subject that people haven't written enough about. And a nice review! Thanks.
(last edited Mar 10, 2009 12:03pm)
Mar 10, 2009 12:02pm
Daniel, according to a study that Vanderbilt cites, merging at the endpoint results in a smoother, steadier stream of traffic. Even though moving over early feels faster to the individual driver, it actually can, when it's done by many drivers, cause much more of a stop-and-go pattern to develop. (I'm saying this from memory as I no longer have the book in front of me.) It's part of a more general theme in the book, that what may seem fair, or what may seem beneficial to the individual driver, adds up to something worse for everyone. Shades of game theory with a new application!
(last edited Mar 10, 2009 03:17pm)
Mar 10, 2009 03:16pm
Thanks, Ken. Now I have justification for being, at least in other drivers' eyes, a complete jackass. Hey, now that I think about it, wouldn't traffic run even smoother if I were never to merge at all, and rather drive on the shoulder when the freeway lanes are too congested? I'm kidding, of course. Maybe.
Mar 10, 2009 04:23pm
Hey, now that I think about it, wouldn't traffic run even smoother if I were never to merge at all, and rather drive on the shoulder when the freeway lanes are too congested?
Yes, it would.
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