Read საგზაო მოძრაობა: რატომ ვატარებთ მანქანას ისე, როგორც ვატარებთ (და რას ამბობს ეს ჩვენ შესახებ) by Tom Vanderbilt Online

-------------

მითხარი, როგორ ატარებ მანქანას და გეტყვი, როგორი ადამიანი ხარ. ჩვენი საარსებო სივრცის უდიდესი ნაწილი საავტომობილო გზებსა და მაგისტრალებს უჭირავს. საინტერესოა, როგორ ვიქცევით მაშინ, როდესაც მანქანას ვმართავთ. ტომ ვანდერბილთის წიგნით უამრავ რამეს გაიგებთ საკუთარ თავზე და მათზე, ვინც საგზაო საცობებში ყოფნისას თავისი უწესო ქცევით გაღიზიანებთ.იცოდით, რომ ავარიების უმეტესობა მზიმითხარი, როგორ ატარებ მანქანას და გეტყვი, როგორი ადამიანი ხარ. ჩვენი საარსებო სივრცის უდიდესი ნაწილი საავტომობილო გზებსა და მაგისტრალებს უჭირავს. საინტერესოა, როგორ ვიქცევით მაშინ, როდესაც მანქანას ვმართავთ. ტომ ვანდერბილთის წიგნით უამრავ რამეს გაიგებთ საკუთარ თავზე და მათზე, ვინც საგზაო საცობებში ყოფნისას თავისი უწესო ქცევით გაღიზიანებთ.იცოდით, რომ ავარიების უმეტესობა მზიან ამინდში ხდება? იცოდით, რომ ხშირად ვტყუვდებით, როცა გვგონია, გვერდითა ზოლში უფრო სწრაფად მიდიან მანქანები? იცოდით, რომ კორუმპირებულ ქვეყნებში მანქანებსაც სხვაგვარად ატარებენ? ეს მხოლოდ მცირე ჩამონათვალია იმ აღმოჩენებისა, რომლებსაც ამ წიგნში შეხვდებით.ვანდერბილთის აზრით, საკმარისია, დავაკვირდეთ ადამიანს მანქანის ტარების პროცესში და გავიგოთ, როგორაა მოწყობილი მისი ტვინი, როგორ ურთიერთობას ამყარებს ის, ზოგადად, გარესამყაროსთან. საგზაო მოძრაობა გაცილებით მეტია, ვიდრე თქვენ გგონიათ, ის ძალიან ნათლად წარმოაჩენს ადამიანურ ბუნებას. ეს წიგნი სრულიად ახალი თვალით დაგანახებთ საკუთარ თავს და მთელ მსოფლიოს. და ვინ იცის? იქნებ უკეთეს მძღოლებადაც გაქციოთ?...

Title : საგზაო მოძრაობა: რატომ ვატარებთ მანქანას ისე, როგორც ვატარებთ (და რას ამბობს ეს ჩვენ შესახებ)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789941083013
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 372 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

საგზაო მოძრაობა: რატომ ვატარებთ მანქანას ისე, როგორც ვატარებთ (და რას ამბობს ეს ჩვენ შესახებ) Reviews

  • Craig
    2019-01-05 19:29

    I really wanted to like this book. I have long held a fascination with traffic -- probably because of all hours I've spent stuck in it wondering why it behaves the way it does. I remember having weird traffic discussions with co-workers about traffic like: pretend you left the office to go home at 5:00 and it took you 1 hour to arrive in your driveway. Leaving at 5:30 on the other hand, because of the lighter traffic, you would roll into your driveway in only half an hour. If you and your housemate left at these times is it possible that you'd arrive at home at the same instant, despite having left work a half hour apart. Yes, a clinically strange thing to talk about on coffee break but, like I said, traffic fascinates me.When I saw this book, and especially when I started to read it, I thought I was in Heaven. A book that spoke to this bizarre side of me that I never knew was shared by anyone else. As I made my way through the book a lot of that hope and promise vanished however. Aside from the fact that about a third of the book is taken up with acknowledgments and references (seriously!) I never really felt that it used all that research all that effectively. The conclusions that were drawn never really clicked with me. For example, the author goes on at length about why it's a good idea to be a "late merger" on the highway when there's an upcoming lane drop. He prattles on about late mergers just being economical about the road -- using as much as there is instead of choking up another lane by merging early. I never really understood that and the argument fell short of being convincing. Another example was that the courtesy wave -- letting someone pass, turn ahead of you, or merge into the lane -- was some evolutionary carryover from caveman days that has roots in being nice to people for reasons of not wanting to be wonked over the head with a club. In other words, it's an instinct that bears no relevance in today's world but is merely an echo of a time and has no bearing on present situations like, you know, just being nice or something. These are merely two examples in pretty long line of unconvincing and poorly supported conclusions.By the end my worst fears about the book were realized when I had to admit that it was really not much more than an extended magazine article. Like the immortal Ambrose Bierce said: "The covers of this book are too far apart".

  • Michael
    2019-01-20 17:37

    Vanderbilt gets 5 stars for scaring the hell out of me every time I sit in the driver's seat. TRAFFIC is a compelling, curious read that makes you feel like you shouldn't be sitting in a car, much less driving one. You'll learn that there's such a thing as a "traffic archeologist," find out what was killing all the pedestrians in New York before cars, learn about the illusions that plague you as a driver, and hopefully a few things that will change your driving style. Most importantly, you'll learn who is right: the late merger or the early one.

  • Ken
    2019-01-24 15:30

    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. A sign indicates that the lane is ending and you should merge left. Do you merge at the first safe opportunity and get mad at the drivers who keep zooming past on the right until the last possible merge point? Or are you one of the drivers who waits until that endpoint, where you have to stop and wait for your turn to merge? Tom Vanderbilt used to be an early merger, but then he changed his ways. Once you read the facts behind his decision, maybe you'll change your ways too.Vanderbilt explores this and other conventional wisdom of the road. He also looks at traffic from an engineering point of view. For instance, how much good do all those speed limit, caution and warning signs actually do? What would happen in a busy, urban environment if we just took those signs away and let people figure things out for themselves? (It's been tried and the results surprised me.) Have we collectively done the right thing by widening our roads, adding bike lanes, crosswalks and protected turn arrows?By the time I reached the end of this book, I had plenty of food for thought. It's quite possible that all the traffic planning and road engineering in our major cities has been misguided in some major ways, resulting in the disruption of neighborhoods and increased danger to driver and pedestrian alike. How do we make traffic flow more quickly on our crowded roads – or is "faster" the wrong goal in the first place?Although Traffic may leave the reader with more questions than answers, fascinating studies and tidbits are scattered throughout the book, and Vanderbilt writes in an easygoing, humorous style. If he occasionally dwells too long on a particular point (I found some of his writing about safety a little plodding), he can be forgiven this minor sin in a book otherwise packed with information that speaks to our everyday lives.One final note: although it was not the author's intent, reading Traffic actually had an impact on the way I drive. I had become an angry driver, and after reading this book, I find myself much more philosophical behind the wheel, and I've cut way back on the pointless aggression. I will try and make that a lasting change.

  • Nicholas Karpuk
    2019-01-08 16:39

    You suck at driving.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 entire novel that seems to be addressing how you, yes YOU drive.The entire thing is chocked full of data indicating that safe, efficient vehicular transportation involves reasoning counter-intuitive to how most people handle their time spent on the road.It points out that roundabouts are statistically vastly safer than intersections, which is annoying to anyone whose dealt with the wacky things. It indicates that safety features and excessive street signs are either worthless or lull us into dangerous over confidence. It observes that driving is a massively complex act with an amazing number of points of failure that we treat as a casual, forgettable part of our day.There were so many interesting facts in this book that I felt like I should be taking notes. At some point I'll probably have to reread this book just to pick up on the finer points I missed.My only complaint is that Vanderbilt often points out a name given to a phenomenon, then never references it again. He'll say something like "This is what we call the 'Black Swan' effect." The "Black Swan" effect was never brought back into the conversation. Don't try to make me remember specialized terms if it's not relevant to the rest of the discussion! It seems more like he mentions the terms because they amuse him.Otherwise, a highly readable book with a value that can't be overlooked in our vehicularly choked age.

  • Nathaniel
    2019-01-17 17:26

    I had high hopes for this book after it sat unpurchased on my Amazon wishlist for three years...and once I finally got around to buying it, boy was I disappointed. To start with, Vanderbilt is the worst kind of modern nonfiction writer: the know-nothing cherrypicker who did some research on the internet and thinks he's an expert now, despite a total lack of objectivity which comes through on every page of his text. Vanderbilt smugly grabs research - any research - to justify his own pre-existing view of how things are, only bothering to evaluate the studies he's read that HE doesn't personally agree with. Most of the data in this book is just that: data, and while some of the data are interesting, the key to writing a book like this is not just data but what you do with them. Vanderbilt clearly has no background in interpreting data (as so few people who write these kinds of books actually do nowadays - I blame America), so to him, a study from New Zealand is as valid as a study from New Jersey, despite vastly different methodologies, confidence intervals, and populations, and the two can be freely combined if it justifies a conclusion that HE has already drawn. For anyone who has actually taken a class in research methods, it's as lazy as it is amateurish. Worse, however, is Vanderbilt's habit of pushing his own assumptions upon the reader in a way that is simply irritating. The more than occasional "you have done this while driving" or "you were/weren't thinking that while driving" is almost comically presumptuous and moves him from merely being a hack to being an offensive one - the best one, for me, was "you have encountered a traffic light that was stuck on red". Well, um, no, actually. I've been driving for 10 years, have lived in six states in three time zones, including three major metropolitan areas and two minor ones. I've driven in 30 other states in addition to those and stopped at many, MANY traffic lights. None was EVER stuck on red. This is what makes Vanderbilt's book so disappointing - his failure to take the vastly, vastly different regional experiences of drivers into consideration as anything other than a justification for his own stereotyped New York worldview. Someday someone will write a great book about traffic in the United States that takes regional identity into consideration. Unfortunately, this is not it.

  • Jason
    2019-01-18 20:49

    Tom Vanderbilt has written an original, enlightening, and--considering the current political and financial maelstrom around automakers--a timely study of human driving characteristics and the universal factors influencing vehicle operation. The book is 286 pages with a remarkable addition of 100 pages of notes. There isn't a page in the book without a reference, a majority coming from national government studies and automobile industry safety reports. Overall, the content is highly-researched, international, and leaves the reader feeling he just read a book sui generis on why we drive the way we do.I drive a light, compact, 2-door commuter car and use it primarily on large interstates. I know people who will not ride in my car for fear of being in a crash. They view my car as a 'tin can of death,' as if its size automatically portends substandard driver skills and inferior automobile performance. Vanderbilt's book tears apart, argument by argument, prejudice by prejudice, these kinds of unfounded social myths. Physics can tell you that my compact car will crumple in an accident, but by sheer rate, compact cars are less likely to be in accidents, and much less likely to result in fatalities! The factors are too numerous to list here, but, in highlight, Vanderbilt's analysis explores reasons of culture, physics, anthropology, urban planning, psychology, civil & mechanical engineering, sociology, transportation policy, government corruption, human nature, optics, and much, much more. Each has a unique story to tell. And each, ironically, goes against the prevailing conventions in their societies. The reader (like I did) will learn that they nurture incorrect views of vehicle operation. Despite a preponderance of evidence around the world and from history, there are still mysteries of traffic behavior. Most interesting are sections on the trouble with traffic signs, the psychology of commuting, and the fatal flaws of traffic engineering. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do will undoubtedly be the go-to book for journal and paper articles about traffic in the near-term.4 stars for being comprehensive, easy to read, and informative on a topic that invisibly touches every person's life, daily. Could have had 5 stars, but there was so much information within each chapter that the author should have had a summary page highlighting the main points. I fear that, despite being such a good book, I will forget many conclusions since they weren't underscored time and again throughout the book.

  • MRM
    2019-01-09 19:36

    Well-written and entertaining look at the psychology of drivers (i.e. most of us). I would have preferred more about urban streets and cyclists (as I am a bike commuter), especially since Vanderbilt lives in my own borough of Brooklyn. But of course Traffic is wide-ranging, as it should be -- always good to learn about what's happening in other countries, particularly China and India.The most depressing chapters for me were in the first part of the book, when Vanderbilt describes the various unavoidable ways that people engage in self-defeating behavior on the road. "Vehicles are moving at velocities for which we hvae no evolutionary training -- for most of the life of the species we did not try to make interpersonal decisions at speed." (p. 37) The distraction, the cellphones, the falling asleep at the wheel...And we're not getting any better. And every close call reinforces our idea that we're a good driver because we avoided getting in an accident.Speaking of which, I wanted to cheer Vanderbilt in the passage about the word "accident" (which he points out that the British Medical Journal stopped using seven years ago because it implies, falsely, that such an incident is both unpredictable and unpreventable). "The word accident[...:]has been sent skittering down a slippery slope, to the point where it seems to provide protective cover for the worst and most negligent driving behaviors. This in turn suggests that so much of the everyday carnage on the road is mysteriously out of our hands and can be stopped or lessened only by adding more air bags (pedestrians, unfortunately, lack this safety feature)." (p. 66)Similarly, the most inspiring chapter for me was "When Dangerous Roads Are Safer," which discusses the ways that traditional traffic-calming measures (speed bumps, lots of signs, etc.) aren't the best ways to improve driver behavior and reduce crashes. I made a list of the people and concepts I want to research further -- Joost Vahl, Hans Monderman, the Shared Space movement...I loved how anarchism (not "anarchy" as it's misused, as a synonym for chaos) reigned in the Laweiplein crossing in Drachten, the Netherlands, after traffic engineer Hans Monderman redesigned it without signs or lights. "The responsibility for getting through the intersection was now up to the users, and they responded by communicating among themselves. The result was that the system was safer, even though the majority of users[...:]felt that the system was more dangerous!" (p. 200)

  • Matt
    2019-01-05 19:37

    I read mostly nonfiction and tend to have a taste for the abstruse, so I was surprised to find myself getting annoyed at the length of this book. Upon further reflection, I realize that this feeling results from my perception that the author provides a lot of details and cites a lot of studies but does not shape them into an interpretive paradigm or offer cogent conclusions. Thus it's just a mass of details--though often very interesting details!A couple of salient points, for me, are the ideas that we are not evolutionarily adapted to travel at high speeds in cars, and thus road engineers have to "fool" us into making us think we're moving slower, for instance, by painting the dashed, white traffic lines 10' long and including 30' gaps. Second, a major difficulty in traffic is that it removes the "sociality" from human interactions. We cannot see each others' faces and we're not making eye contact as we relate in a very dense environment. Further, an overpollution of traffic signs can cause people to disengage from the social world around them (e.g., that they are driving through a neighborhood where kids play) and only pay attention to the artificial world of traffic laws and signs. In other words, we stop paying attention to the unanticipated and instead assume that if we just follow the posted signs, we'll be fine no matter what, not recognizing that we are social actors interacting with other social actors with potentially lethal consequences.There are some great nuggets in this book, but you've got to dig for them through a lot of dross!

  • Derek Wolfgram
    2019-01-07 23:51

    I expected to enjoy Traffic quite a bit - as a person with a psychology degree who loves to drive, I really looked forward to some interesting insights into human behavior behind the wheel. However, I only read about 60 pages into the book before I put it down. 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 clueless, the roads are filled with a majority of above-average drivers (particularly men), each of whom seems intent on maintaining their sense of above-averageness."While I do like the evidence provided for some twists on conventional wisdom (for example, that cell phone use while driving is not significantly worse than any of a hundred other ways drivers distract themselves), I was left unsatisifed by the explanations in the chapter "Why Does the Other Lane Always Seem Faster?" While the book is clearly carefully researched and the author enjoys the material, Traffic just doesn't ever get up to speed.

  • Alicia
    2019-01-18 22:31

    It's a behemoth all right. There is so much going on in the book that Vanderbilt builds skillfully but it is a lot to take in, especially if one is sitting on the couch drinking tea on a very cold day for the entire day. My eyes went a little sideways every now and then with the amount of data he pulls in, scientific studies, comparisons and visits to other countries, and just plain explaining traffic. Yes-- "traffic was as much an emotional problem as it was a physical and mechanical one".And I can see myself in "yet still we get visibly mad, to an audience of no one. Katz argues that we are engaging in a kind of theatrical storytelling, inside of our cars, angrily 'constructing moral dramas' in which we are the wronged victims- and the 'avenging hero'- in some traffic epic of larger importance." He uses explanations about traffic and the increase for it ultimately being more women in the workforce. And how building more roads just makes them busier. He shares a hatred for parking lots and how a roundabout is a fabulous transportation invention but does not work in the gridded-out metropolitan areas. He dives in to moving objects and our brain. How many decisions are made per minute while driving. And he doesn't even really get in to cell phones because they were just starting to become fashionable appendages when he published the book in 2008 though he does reference iPods/music playing in cars. He talks about the increases in deaths and attributions. He talks about types of cars and engineering. There is literally no stone unturned in this tome because "traffic is like a language. It generally works best if everyone knows and obeys the rules of grammar though slang can be brutally effective." Stirling Moss (racer) is quoted as saying "there are two things no man will admit he cannot do well: drive and make love."

  • Tammy
    2018-12-29 23:38

    Interesting thoughts about how we drive. Now I don't feel guilty merging at the last minute!

  • Emma Sea
    2019-01-01 18:52

    3.5 stars.

  • Jeff
    2019-01-14 22:33

    This is the perfect example of 4.5 stars for me. I don't want to say it was AMAZING but it was significantly better than "really liked it." The writing's not especially wonderful, but the information is great. It's my kind of topic. It's delivered in a non-preachy tone though the author's "bias" is apparent at times. It's not trying to be too clever (as i usually feel when reading Oliver Sacks or David Sedaris) nor is it afraid of being interesting (as seems to be the case with most Important Biographies i've tried to read).Not many people THINK deeply about traffic. We have strong feelings about it and it can ruin our day, but considering it in the abstract or viewing it as an index of culture (as telling as one's language or religion) probably doesn't even occur to most of us as something worth trying. This book covers the topic incredibly thoroughly. Sometimes redundant, but i suspect that's because the author wasn't so arrogant as to expect every reader to start on p.1 and plow through to the last page of the index without stopping.The first chapter or two had me thinking it should be mandatory reading for student drivers. The majority of the book, though, is really about sociology and psychology, so it's not worthwhile to students. The final chapters and the epilogue return to appropriate topics. Of course, i don't expect many young teens would dig this stuff much: non-fiction books ain't typical American Cool.This should make it onto the syllabi of undergrad courses across the country. I hope the students appreciate it. And i really hope the blurb in Entertainment Weekly about it helps get a few thousand more people to read the damned thing (rather than just buying it, a la Oprah's magic).Extensive notes (i didn't read them; normally would, but it's a 14-day loaner from the lieberry) in the backmatter are probably very useful and informative. I didn't need the index, but i love me a non-fiction book with a good index: indispensable for somebody who needs to study it.Finally, i'd like to thank the smarties at Powell's Bookstore in Portland, OR, for their excellent newsletter and its oft-terrific recommendations. I have not given them credit before now, but they consistently have good ideas for what to read next.

  • Mirkat
    2019-01-04 17:36

    You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.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 drivers make choices based on their own self-interest, but those choices are often detrimental to the entire driving system, with the cumulative effect of slowing down traffic flow.I found this book, overall, interesting and informative. Certain facts were downright counter-intuitive. At times, I felt I was being bogged down somewhat with the density of some of the data, but I think it's a worthwhile read/listen.Still skeptical that roundabouts are safer for pedestrians. My own personal example is a roundabout at an intersection that is part of one of my favorite running routes. Several years back, the roundabout replaced traffic lights. In my experience, the traffic lights provided a clarity that has been removed. The road that I have to cross now has a crosswalk meant to stop westbound drivers entering the roundabout and another for eastbound drivers who have just exited it. There is signage indicating that drivers must stop to allow pedestrians to cross. I can't even tell you how often drivers roll right through, apparently not even considering the possibility of stopping for lowly on-foot travelers. Usually, my only hope of crossing is if no drivers are close enough to be a problem.

  • Bill Keefe
    2019-01-21 16:55

    Confession: I couldn't take more than three chapters.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 me to make the good - and often the extremely embarrassing - judgments I make. But this was a ramble, a directionless stroll through everything there is to know which, unfortunately, leads the reader nowhere.For a comparison, take a reading of "The Flamingo's Smile," by Stephen Jay Gould, where you wade through very detailed scientific explanations and descriptions of biological phenomena. This stuff inundated me with details on subjects about which I knew very few generalities. But, it was great reading (and great writing). All along the way, Professor Gould tells you why what you are reading is important and how it all ties together at a higher level.No, not everyone is a writer of the caliber of Mr. Gould but Mr. Vanderbilt doesn't even come close - and doesn't seem to try. He just goes on and on, slipping from one potentially interesting topic to another, from one isolated study to another.I couldn't take it. I got off the first exit and headed to a more rewarding reading experience.

  • Coleman
    2019-01-14 15:32

    I am glad I read this book (or more accurately, listened to it while sitting in traffic, which was indeed a strange, almost out-of-body experience as the reader called out mistakes and assumptions I make as a driver while I was making them. I highly recommend reading the book this way). Despite the large amount of freedom riders driving across the seemingly empty pages of this great nation, Vanderbilt indicates that many a driver is a stranger to himself, acting and reacting in ways that may seem normal or safe, but actually cause the ills and congestion of traffic. And every mother's son, (including John Barleycorn), is a victim of traffic.The book is filled to the brim with interesting statistics and factoids, so let me just provide a smattering of the ideas that I found most interesting:-Parking spots are too cheap and too plentiful in U.S. cities, and thus encouraging more people to drive instead of walking or biking or using transit, causing more traffic.-As cities expand outward into suburbs, public transit has trouble reaching people, thus causing people to drive more often, thus causing fewer people to use public transit, thus driving up public transit prices, thus causing even fewer people to use public transit, thus causing more traffic.-Bicyclists are actually safer riding on the street than on the sidewalk, even though sidewalks feel safer.-Men are almost twice as likely to get into fatal car crashes, but women are more likely than men to get into nonfatal car crashes.-Truck and SUV drivers speed and drive more aggressively for a multitude of reasons. They feel safer within their vehicles, and their positions high above the road make it look (to their eyes) like they are moving more slowly.-Roundabouts are far safer than traffic light intersections.I could go on and on, which is actually one of the weaknesses of this book. It's so dense with information, and its thesis is so broad that it is hard to synthesize all these statistics after having listened to it. What should I take away from it? Is there more I could be doing to change laws and regulations to make traffic safer and less congested? Or should I just stop driving altogether? Still, the tidbits I picked up and some of the statistics expanded upon have made me more cautious and more aware of my surroundings as a driver. If nothing else, this book will make you safer and more observant on the road, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

  • Elizabeth K.
    2019-01-13 18:29

    Holy cow, this book was awesome. Pop science in which the author puts together a lot of studies about how driving actually works (like the physics and technology of how cars move) and ways this gets translated by people driving cars. It was the kind of book where every single paragraph contained at least one amazing fact. Like so amazing that everyone I know is really lucky that I wasn't calling you at 2 AM on a Wednesday to tell you that up to 20% of the earth's surface can be covered in insect swarms in a given moment. TWENTY PERCENT, PEOPLE. If you're wondering how that relates to traffic, apparently it came up in a conversation he was having with someone who was comparing information about insect swarming behaviors to traffic congestion models. I should point out that most of the amazing facts were more directly about driving, but the fact that the author was compelled to wedge this one in there makes me feel like he's a kindred spirit. This is also the kind of book that makes me wish I had a better guidance counselor in high school, in terms of career planning. Or I don't know, maybe the guidance counselor wouldn't even have had a chance, given that a basic description of how engineers can use systems analysis to make recommendations about public policy sounds like a terrible job. It sounds like the most boring thing ever, until you get to the actual examples of engineers and other scientists playing around with traffic flow and then it sounds like the best job ever. Of course this was a winner with me right out of the gate, because the very first section is an explanation of why the zipper merge is more efficient for everyone than the early merge. THE ZIPPER. Be still my heart.

  • Roger Pharr
    2018-12-27 18:51

    I've complained in the past about how some full length books could have been accomplished in a single chapter. Some have one big idea that's introduced in the first chapter and then nothing. This is a great example of a book that used every page well. There was so much content that I had to stop reading at every chapter or section of the chapter to process what I had read.But I may be a little biased toward liking anything about driving. I've always been a fan of the complexity in the subject, maybe because of my years as an industrial engineer grappling with other types of queueing problems. So this book may have been a ringer for me.Also I was struck at how difficult it must be to write a book that is well done in the way that he does it well. Each page is filled with three or four sources organized together to make a conclusion that may not have been obvious but now suddenly is. To gather and organize that much information and then write the words that are at once plain and complicated takes work of a magnitude that I can't fathom.I liked it, did I say that?

  • Gwen
    2019-01-12 17:42

    I actually listened to the audiobook in the car, which made "reading" this quite ironic. Half of the time, I was in the process of doing exactly what the author was talking about. Overall, I found this book pretty fascinating -- the statistics and logic surrounding safety and danger in the car and on the road seemed so backward (like how freeways and open roadways that appear safe are actually more dangerous than busy city streets with lots of action) -- until they were explained. One of the most interesting parts for me was that there are more pedestrians in NYC, but the streets are still designed for the driver. The last chapter summarized a lot of everything else in the book, and started to get kindof dull -- since it didn't pack the same punch without all the stats and dramatic information.

  • Elaine Nelson
    2018-12-31 16:47

    An exploration of the psychology of traffic, mostly in the US, but with some travels abroad (particularly to the UK, the Netherlands, India and China). Amazing stuff. Basically, unless you're a brain surgeon, driving is the most mentally complex thing you will ever do. And of course most of the issues that make traffic so insane are psychological. We're just not designed to go that fast. Also, lots of little nuggets of wisdom to save for future conversations. I hope our governor and state/local transportation folks read this book!

  • Daniel Frank
    2019-01-13 22:46

    Interesting subject matter, but this book provides nothing new. The author isn't very curious/knowledgable, and ignores a lot of the traffic adjacent topics. I can't imagine that there's any audience that I would recommend this book to.

  • rivka
    2018-12-31 23:54

    Highly recommended by a friend who works in traffic statistics and research.While at times somewhat dry, mostly presented very well, with amusing asides and oft-frightening realizations. A book every driver should read!

  • James
    2019-01-09 23:40

    I hope, at the very least, that this book makes me slow down a little when I drive. Traffic is the second excellent book I've read in the last year by Tom Vanderbilt, and like You May Also Like, it comprises a trove of potentially dry science rendered vividly and persuasively for the lay reader. I marked this book to read years ago, when I was still making a 600-mile round trip every other week to visit the woman who became my wife, and I think, if I'd gotten to it then, I would have spent fewer rage-filled Sunday afternoons on I-95 in Virginia, fuming at the traffic engineers who, as it turns out, were less responsible for my predicament than I presumed. Who's to blame? Traffic congestion is a complex problem to be certain, one that a lot of people have thought a lot about, but the answer may lie in a German billboard that Vanderbilt quotes several times. Do you feel like you're stuck IN the traffic jam? the billboard asked drivers. Look at from the other guy's point of view and you'll see that you ARE the traffic jam. Bottom line? Too many drivers, and it's only going to get worse. Building new roads attracts new traffic, in most cases almost instantaneously offsetting the dearly-bought increase in capacity.Traffic is about more than congestion, though. Vanderbilt examines the psychology and engineering of many aspects of our complicated relationship with the automobile. One apparently intractable difficulty in that fraught connection is the seeming impossibility of making driving safer. The technology, of course, is always improving. The interior of a passenger car today is like a padded room if compared with the car interiors of my own youth, which were all stylish sharp angles and shiny, durable surfaces - massive head injuries waiting to happen, in other words. Despite the accretion of shoulder belts and airbags and rounded, cushioned dashboards and side panels, the anti-lock braking systems and expanded crumple-zones though, the rate of injury and death stays fairly constant. As Vanderbilt relates it, the science indicates that safer vehicles and roadways only seem to encourage riskier human behavior. To give just one of Vanderbilt's numerous examples of this technological/behavioral paradox, more pedestrians are killed or injured crossing at crosswalks than in the middle of the block. This is partly because more pedestrians cross at crosswalks - skewing the sample - but the greater danger of crosswalks remains true even after you adjust the numbers. The reason for this is most likely, Vanderbilt posits, because the jaywalkers are being more careful. His theory is supported by the fact that more pedestrians are killed or injured in marked crosswalks than unmarked. Similarly, when drivers insulated from risk they engage in increasingly questionable behavior. Vanderbilt titles an entire chapter "When Dangerous Roads Are Safer." To return to the wish with which I began this review, excessive speed, even more than drugs and alcohol or distracted driving, is the risky driver behavior responsible for more damage and suffering than any other. As speed increases arithmetically, the associated risks increase geometrically. Slight reductions in speed, hardly noticeable to the driver, can result in dramatic mitigation of harm.I can't really recommend Traffic enough. The research is thoroughgoing, the analysis is thoughtful, the prose is lucid (for which I was rather pathetically grateful after spending weeks finishing an impenetrably vague and pretentiously middlebrow novel) and the subject, I would imagine, is of compelling interest to just about anyone who's ever driven (or ridden in, for that matter) a car.

  • Kay
    2019-01-11 22:37

    The insights in this book have much broader societal implications than how we behave on the road -- or perhaps how we behave on the road merely reflects our species' failings?"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 late or too early; drivers who are going too fast or too slow; and particularly all those S.O.B.S who drive (insert favorite hated type of car here). Yet, as Tom Vanderbilt notes, but we are contributors to whatever traffic jam we're stuck in and by default fall into someone else's notion of a bad driver. We are the enemy. Vanderbilt begins his straightforward yet complex book with an analysis of traffic jams and their contributing factors, but he soon ranges much further afield, citing studies from a wide range of disciplines. I found much information in this book surprising, not the least of which was learning that the road and car safety features that we rely so heavily upon -- lines on the road, signage, anti-lock brakes, seat belts, driving bigger cars -- can be contributing factors to a false sense of security. I was intrigued to learn that removing road signs could actually lead to fewer collisions in many places. Other things I was surprised to learn were that drivers tend to pass closer to cyclists wearing helmets than those who are not (perhaps assuming the helmet-wearing cyclists are more "serious" and will not veer in front of them), that cars rather than trucks are the cause of most truck-car collisions, that a surprising amount of the traffic on city streets consists of people looking for parking, and that suburbs can be riskier places to drive than cities. Much of this has to do with the way we seem to be hard-wired, while some has to do with social conditioning. In one of the chapters that most intrigued me, Vanderbilt analyzes traffic in other parts of the world such as China and India (two places I have been a passenger but not a driver, thankfully) as well as the much safer Scandinavian countries. I've driven in places that felt completely chaotic (Croatia springs to mind) and counted myself lucky to emerge unscathed, and also driven in places that are supposedly difficult to drive such as Italy, the U.K. and other "wrong side of the road" countries, Mexico, and the German autobahn. In these cases, I realize, my perception of being in danger kept me in a continual state of high alert and was probably the main reason I emerged unscathed. One important dictum I took away from this book is that drivers are in more peril when they assume they're safe than when they are on the alert for danger. It is, ultimately, our own inattentiveness that is the greatest threat to our safety on the road. Toward the end of the book, Vanderbilt mentions that after September 11, 2001, there was a marked increase in traffic fatalities. The obvious reason, of course, was that those too skittish to fly were driving instead, and so put themselves at greater risk. This was the springboard for Vanderbilt's trenchant analysis of real vs. perceived risk, which I found quite illuminating. Why do we, as a society, tolerate the great number of traffic deaths per year (approximately 40,000) yet remain on constant alert for terrorists, who, all told, have caused some 5,000 deaths since 1960 in the U.S.? A lot of the reasons we don't recoil in horror at these grim traffic statistics, it seems, have to do with our ideas of what is acceptable: it is more acceptable to die doing something with a perceived benefit (getting where we want to go) and under our own autonomy (e.g. we are the drivers, not someone else) than to have little or no autonomy or perceived benefit. When we are in "control," it seems, we feel that it's not such a bad thing if, for example, we have a beer or two before getting behind the wheel or talk on our cell phones or text while driving, which, studies have shown, put us at much greater risk. We might even feel quite indignant when we see other drivers holding cellphones to their ears or coming out of a bar and getting into a car. And it is speed, above all factors, that kills, yet we stubbornly resist lowering speed limits and regard it as our god-given right to proceed at a "fair" speed: e.g. ten miles over the posted limit. Thus Vanderbilt leaves us with the undeniable conclusion that regardless of how sophisticated our machines become or how deftly we engineer our roads, it is ultimately our own psychological limitations that bedevil and endanger us. We have met the enemy. He is us. A note on the reader, Marc Cashman: Mr. Cashman was, I thought, the ideal reader for this book. I'm a picky listener but not a single feature of his voice, phrasing, timing, or emphasis bothered me; on the contrary, I felt he greatly added to my enjoyment and understanding of the book. I'll be seeking out other books read by him.

  • Brooks
    2019-01-21 19:40

    Vanderbilt, Tom, Traffic, Why we drive the way we do, Knopf, New York, 2008This 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 lower speed – do not work – the variation in speed causes more accidents- “We spend more on driving than on food or health care”- For the Oscar awards show, LA uses all the systems (cameras, manual traffic light control) to manage traffic flow to help the Limousines in/out of town.- Queuing in traffic seems longer because there is little information about how long you will be there (i.e. the cause and where).- Lane changing in a traffic jam – There are two lanes that always move in different rates. When you are stopped, you notice the other lane moving (causing envy) faster as you are stopped. When your lane moves, you don’t notice the effect as much because 1. You are moving faster so do not notice the number of cars you are passing in the other lane 2. You are driving and not paying attention to the other lane like when you having nothing to do when you are stopped.- And 10% of accidents are due to lane changes- Work zones – “slow down my daddy works here” – really the danger is not to the construction worker, but to yourself. But thinking of an individual worker with a family makes people think about the danger to an “individual” that they do not think about for themselves. - There is a flaw to human perception of risk – Where we have some control on the risk – like driving – we underestimate the risk. Whereas, uncontrollable risk – terrorism – gets much higher attention. - Are you a bad driver? Accidents are rare, so little feedback. There is no “near miss” tracking like a industrial safety program, but the same theories apply – 300 near misses is equivalent to one minor accident, and 29 minor accidents happen for every major fatality. - DriveCam – camera system installed in the rearview mirror – one forward on the road and one on the driver – great for teenagers. Immediate feedback on their driving.- The safer cars and roads are designed, the risker the human behavior. This is why safety improvements almost never reach the expected outcome.- Traffic signs – most people have no memory of them – you read them quickly and if not relevant – immediately forget. Some - Most people are looking for other cars because that is what they are in – this is why motorcycles get hit – SMIDSY – “Sorry, Mate, I Didn’t See You” is common in England and the bumper stickers – “see motorcycles” and loud pipes save lives. Even Emergency vehicles with their lights on are hit because it is a rare event and people just don’t see them.- Roundabouts – Work better than traffic lights – from a system perspective – more throughput at all levels of congestion and safety. But America’s perceive them as slower because we judge based on a Green light traffic signal where we do not slow at all half the time versus having to slow down every time - Urban Planning – Most people want to commute? As our means of travel increases speed (walking, horse) we are still roughly 30 minutes to our place of work. But now with interstate highways, Cities that were 5 miles in diameter are now 20-30 miles. Interesting point, not sure I agree.- Why more traffic? Women. Women entering the workforce and commuting and taking the kids to/from organized sports (instead of kids walking/biking or just playing in their own neighborhood). - Another point on women – women get in more accidents than men- Ha! But their accidents are far less likely to be deadly. Men drive more often drunk and without seatbelts. - - Congestion taxes – London city center tax has been very successful in cutting traffic. Copenhagen just quietly pulled parking spots to have the same effect. Donald Shoup- The high cost of free parking – raise cost of parking to the point of 85% utilization and then no circling for parking. - Latent Demand – If you build it, they will come. More roads gets more people driving. LA has a ton of experience. They have closed major highways and told people to stay home. They do. But as soon as people find out it is not as bad, they start driving. - Unsafest day for driving – Super Bowl Sundy. 20x beer consumed.

  • Jill
    2018-12-24 16:40

    This book is really 4.5*. There is so much food for thought in this read. It is packed with really fascinating and simultaneously useful information. Vanderbilt really covers all the complex factors in traffic, and it blew my mind how many there were. Add to that correlations with hundreds of things you'd never stop to think had a relationship at all - a country's GDP, a country's corruption rating, etc. I learned more information in this single read than I have learned from a book in a long while.I love Vanderbilt's writing style - lots of snark and lots of irony. He reminds me a lot of Simon Garfield - lots of information, but it feels fun to read. I laughed aloud in several places:"Americans seem similarly (and particularly) predisposed to putting cheap bumper stickers on their expensive cars - announcing the academic wizardry of their progeny, jocularly advising that their "other car is a Porsche," or giving subtle hints ("MV") of their exclusive vacation haunts. One never sees a German blazing down the Autobahn with a PROUD TO BE GERMAN sticker." Hahahahahahahha"Mexico City's speed bumps may be the largest in the world, and in their sheer size they are bluntly effective at curbing the worst impulses of chilango (as the capital's residents are known) motorists. Woe to the driver who hits one at anything but the most glacial creep. Older cars have been known to stall out at a bump's crest and be turned into a roadside food stand."Awesome. What's not to love?There were some particularly interesting bits of information too:Psychologists who examined a survey called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, which as for the past few decades gauged narcissistic indicators in society (measuring reactions to statements like "If I ruled the world, it would be a better place"), found that in 2006, two-thirds of survey respondents scored higher than in 1982. More people than ever, it seems have a "positive and inflated view of the self." And over that same period that narcissism was growing, the road, if surveys can be believed, was becoming a less pleasant environment. Traffic, a system that requires conformity and cooperation to function best, was filling with people sharing a common thought: "If I ruled the road, it would be a better place."Sounds like Paul was right on the money when he described our day to Timothy: "Men shall be lovers of their own selves...boasters, proud, etc."Vanderbilt's concluding paragraph does a fabulous job of summing up the gist:On the road, we make our judgments about what's risky and what's safe using our own imperfect human calculus. We think large trucks are dangerous but then we drive unsafely around them. We think roundabouts are more dangerous than intersections, although they're more safe. We think the sidewalk is a safer place to ride a bike, even though it's not. We worry about getting into a crash on "dangerous" holiday weekends but stop worrying during the week. We do not let children walk to school even though driving in a car presents a greater hazard. We use hands-free cell phones to avoid risky dialing and then spend more time on risky calls (among other things). We carefully stop at red lights when there are no other cars, but exceed the speed limit during the rest of trips. We buy SUVs because we think they're safe and then drive them in more dangerous ways. We drive at a minuscule following distance to the car ahead, exceeding our ability to avoid a crash, with a blind faith that the driver ahead will never have a reason to suddenly stop. We have gotten to the point where cars are safer than ever, yet traffic fatalities cling to stubbornly high levels. We know all this, and act as if we don't.Other than the misplaced and/or missing commas and the "more safe," I thought this a brilliant paragraph.

  • Pixie Dust
    2019-01-10 16:49

    A quirky book, humorously written, with lots of anecdotes that drivers will identify with. The book was also filled with impressive research on the traffic situations in different countries, and how various rules implemented worked or did not.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 more drivers to get on the road. Drivers who may have opted to take public transport or travel at a different time, or forgo that extra shopping trip, now happily cruise down the extra lane/road, and after a short time, the jams will be back.Traffic warnings don’t work either. People might avoid a road that reportedly has a jam, and end up jamming the alternative route instead. People are also constantly adjusting their behaviour, e.g. drivers may decide to try Route 1 because Route 2 always jams. But then Route 1 jams because many drivers did the same, and so the next day, more drivers go back to Route 2 – jamming that route. On the third day, a number of drivers resort to Route 1 again. An equilibrium is never reached, and so a familiar route may one day be jammed and on another be cruise-happy, even if there has not been any ‘incident’ like a breakdown or an accident. There’s just no point in speculating. I’ve decided to stick to just one route from now on, and save my brain cells for making other more meaningful decisions.Quotable quotes: “…the slow deadening of your psyche caused by the ritual of leaving home forty-five minutes sooner than you would like so you can arrive at work ten minutes later than your boss would like.” True, true. “ And yet, in spite of all this mental and physical anguish, there’s at least the small consolation awaiting you at the end of your daily slog: Your fellow commuters did not try to eat you.”Apparently the Mormon cricket, caught in a traffic jam, would eat its neighbours. The fear of being eaten encouraged all to move faster, hence, no jam.“Surely you have had the experience of listening in vain to a rapidly spoken traffic report, hoping against hope to get the details on the jam you’re sitting in (and by some law, you never can).” The ‘rapidly’ is right. Before I can figure out what direction and expressway exit the DJ meant, it’s gone with the wind. And yes, I almost never get the details I want. A DJ once showed me the panel on his screen displaying the traffic updates – there’re tons of them – impossible to announce them all, and so apparently the DJ himself chooses which ones to announce. I guess the one affecting me never gets chosen.“…a driver has a lower chance of being in a fatal crash if there’s a passenger… especially when the passenger is a woman and the driver is a man. (Whether this stems from men looking out for women or women telling men to drive more safely is open to debate.)” See? Women do make the world a better place.

  • Jeff Kelleher
    2019-01-19 18:31

    Your are rolling along in the left lane when "Lane Closed Ahead" appears. Do you merge early or late? The socially-optimal strategy is to merge late, at or near the actual end of the lane. By doing so, you exploit now-scarce lane space that otherwise might be under-used. Everyone benefits (notwithstanding the self-righteous irritation of the drivers you pass). The same doesn't apply to the line at an offramp, though. Late cutters-in are not conserving lane space, but merely cheating.Scores of similarly-intriguing insights are scattered throughout this book. The title and cover make it seem like whimsy. It is actually serious and rather dense, filled with engineering, physics, psychology, statistics, and sociology.More insights. SUV drivers are more dangerous than sedan drivers. Not, as one might think, because they are arrogant yuppies, but because the high perch induces under-estimation of speed, and larger size induces casual driving habits. Men have fewer crashes than women per mile driven, but more fatalities (yes, it is largely testosterone and alcohol). Having a male passenger makes men even more dangerous, but a female passenger calms them. New cars crash at a higher rate than older cars. Pickup truck drivers are the most dangerous of all. Read the book to learn why.If there is an overarching lesson from this study, it is the near-futility of social regulation. Traffic is a microcosm of society--vast, teeming, and intractable. Most measures to reduce congestion or improve safety cause a counter-reaction that largely defeats the measure.Seat belts, airbags, rollover protection, and ABS brakes simply allow drivers to press the limits of the now-wider envelope. Our consciousness gets numb to warning signs ("Falling Rocks"). There ARE a lot fewer fatalities than in the past, but more crashes and worse congestion. More roads, more lanes, more signals, more sensors, produce diminishing returns.It turns out that both safety and flow are best served by LESS, not more, regulation. The model is an intersection in the middle of the Dutch town of Drachten where once two main streets intersected, governed by traffic lights. Twenty thousand cars a day pass through, plus countless bikes and pedestrians. An innovative traffic engineer named Hans Monderman eliminated all signals and signs and crosswalks and zebra poles, and replaced them with a town square dominated by sidewalks and fountains, with a roundabout in the middle. No one stops, everyone gives way voluntarily. Time to cross the intersection has been cut by 40%, accidents by 90%. We should take heed.RE: editing. The writing style is plain enough, but a skilled editor could have cut the length by a third without loss. Worse, there are 100 pages of textual footnotes. This is the worst kind of editorial laziness. I wish all the style manuals would say, "NO TEXTUAL FOOTNOTES, EVER. Text belongs in the main body, or it doesn't belong. Period."

  • Viola
    2019-01-17 15:28

    Let me start by saying that I find traffic quite interesting. I think of traffic as a social engineering problem that combines some elements of economics (you have self-interested individuals acting non-cooperatively) and some elements of mathematical physics (I know nothing about that). Given my casual interest on the topic, I was excited to read this book, but in the end, I was sorely disappointed.The book as a whole has no coherent theme, no overall message, no driving purpose. It is a collection of interesting facts and thoughts about traffic, but with no central theme to tie everything together. I think that the sub-chapters of the book would work well individually as short articles for a magazine, an online news site, or a blog. The sub-chapters do contain interesting tidbits of information and insight. Individually, they are not bad. Collectively, they do not work. After I finished the book, I walked away from it wondering what I really learned. Unfortunately, not much.Despite the fact that the book may have been well-researched (one-fourth of the book is endnotes), the research is not necessarily presented in a way that makes for a compelling argument or convincing message. Many thoughts were superficial and underdeveloped. The book is full of curiosity-inducing hooks with lackluster answers. For example, "Why women cause more congestion than men" is a very intriguing chapter title. Yet the answer falls flat. It is because more women have entered the workforce in the past 40 years, so they have added to the volume of cars on the streets.Additionally, the author's arguments are often incomplete and the logic is not well-thought out. For instance, in Chapter 7, he argues in favor of getting rid of traffic signs. To make his point, the author cites the traffic engineer Hans Monderman who eliminated street signs in a Dutch village called Oudehaske. The idea is that drivers would drive slower and more safely without any street signs because cyclists and pedestrians also shared the road. Drivers would be more cautious as they are brought into a "social world" and taken out of the "traffic world." The drivers would be more aware of themselves interacting with other people rather than feeling socially disconnected within their cars. However, in the very next chapter, the author criticized the lack of street signs in New Delhi, India. He cites an illegible, handwritten "No U-Turn" sign in place of a standard street sign as an example of one of the traffic problems in New Delhi. Wouldn't New Delhi be the perfect example of a place of a "social world"? All the numerous modes of transportation are mixed into one space. Why doesn't the theory of no street signs work in New Delhi? The logic and arguments from Chapter 7 does not follow into Chapter 8, and the author does not elaborate to reconcile the differences.Overall, I can't recommend this book. Bits and pieces of it aren't bad, but as a whole, it simply doesn't hold together.

  • Aaron Arnold
    2019-01-21 15:26

    Traffic as a phenomenon is full of irritating paradoxes. Driving faster can mean everyone drives slower. Building roads to relieve congestion creates even more congestion. Redesigning roads to make them safer can cause more accidents. Putting up more warning signs means fewer of them get read. Trying to keep pedestrians protected from cars makes them less safe. Tailgating the car in front of you in a traffic jam does nothing to let you escape it. Traffic the book is an excellent in-depth study on driving and its effects on society that manages to both confirm a lot of my own driving prejudices and offer a lot of good insights into traffic congestion and a host of other related subjects. Vanderbilt talks about the history of traffic jams going back to the Romans and how modern technology is trying to stay one step ahead of the monster jams that modern technology helps create in the first place. Very readable and full of fun info. Quick takeaways, some of which should be obvious yet somehow aren't for a lot of people:- Don't tailgate, it's really unsafe and often causes people to actually slow down- Driving and texting/eating/anything in the car makes you way more likely to get into a wreck- In a traffic jam, drive a slow but consistent speed instead of stopping and going; you won't get out of the jam any more quickly but you will both save on gas and help out the people behind you- Late merging is the way to go, as it maximizes the use of space; don't get pissed off at people who zoom ahead of you, you didn't "own" a place in line- Support toll roads/congestion pricing/higher street parking fees; recognizing that the precious resources of road and parking space aren't free will help everyone in the long run even if it hurts your wallet up front- Stop thinking of roads as car transport devices only, there are lots of other types of transportation like bikes and pedestrians that have just as much of a right to be there as cars- Suburban sprawl is ruining cities and in very real ways making us poorer as a nation, encourage any and every policy to spur density and alternatives to driving you seeIf you're like me, you hate driving and try to do as little of it as possible, yet you still find the subject very interesting. Vanderbilt goes through a great tour of the many ways in which the rise of mega-commuting has warped our culture (e.g. we spend so much time in our cars that radio stations time their broadcasts to give you "driveway moments" that get you to stay in your car even after your trip has ended to hear the end of the segment) and the superhuman efforts of traffic engineers to shave even seconds off our journeys. Highly recommended.