Archive for October 24th, 2008

“Ford Lanes”

Some interesting numbers out of an HOT on Highway 167 in Washington state.

People seemed willing to pay $1 to lower their commute by 10 minutes in heavy congestion.

The highest possible tolls is $9, and only a dozen paid that in heavy-traffic July.

HOT’s have been famously tagged “Lexus Lanes,” but some reports have been shown them being used by a broad variety of users across income, etc., lines. The most common vehicle found in these lanes were not Lexuses (Lexi?) but Fords (7,500 of ’em). I wonder what percentage were pickup trucks, and I’m further interested in the gender breakdown of lane users.

Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 8:45 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Gentle Congestion

I talked to Mitchell Joachim in the new issue of Wired. As befitting someone who worked on the “City Car” at MIT, some of the talk turned to wheels, which like everything else in Joachim’s vision would look radically different down the road:

“His various cars would be less machine than Facebook on wheels. Instead of rpm gauges, there’d be social networking software telling drivers where their friends are and how to get there. Made from neoprene and other soft materials, cars would no longer suffer traffic-fouling fender benders, merely what he calls “gentle congestion”–picture a flock of urban sheep grazing against one other. Like Zipcar vehicles, the cars would be shared. They would “read” potholes and send warnings to nearby drivers and city repair crews. Urban parking would be eased by intelligent real-time supply and demand management, with people bidding remotely for available spots. Of course, there’d also be more spaces to begin with, since his cars could be folded and stacked like shopping carts. The average New York City block could handle 880 of the vehicles, he says.”

There was a lot more interesting stuff I couldn’t squeeze in, like ConEd thinking about getting into the mobility business — “cars as batteries,” etc.

Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 8:27 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Waarom wij rijden zoals wij rijden (en wat dat over ons zegt)

That’s the subtitle of the book, just out in the Netherlands, published by the fine De Bezige Bij — the “busy bee.” For the other international editions check here.

Jans, a Dutch traffic engineer, got in touch to note the book had been mentioned in the newspaper De Pers a few days ago. He also noted the article contained news that a recent “morning peak hour was the tenth worst peak hour ever, measured in total length of traffic jams, with a total of 568 kilometers (over 350 miles).”

I’m going to have start assembling a league table of traffic jam standings…

Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 8:16 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Transport column to me at:

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage:

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For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau:

Order Traffic from:

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Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013 “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Grand Rapids MI



October 2008

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