Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
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
And I ...more
Most drivers are not nearly as proficient as they think they are. Many drivers, based on their inflated sense of their own skills, think they can drive just as well, even if they divide their attention between their driving and their phones. But they are (at times catastrophically) wrong.
Measures designed to make driving safer can actually make it more dangerous, since they facilitate faster driving and less attention to surroundings.
Individual drive ...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!
One of my favorite lines in the book is a little throwaway line about a sign the author saw in Britain: Changing Priorities Ahead. What the heck does that mean? The au ...more
"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