Archive for November 11th, 2008


The word of the year, according to the New American Oxford Dictionary. I see the word more often than I actually see people doing it.

And, going against a recent grain of thought, Car and Driver says leaving the windows down is better for mileage than A/C.

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 6:56 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Bikes Not Bombs

John Adams explodes the fear of “bicycle bombs.” And his point on life jackets is well taken too.

[I should clarify, vis a vis the comment below, that Adams is talking about actual bicycles converted into bombs, rather than explosives attached to bicycles — which seems to be the case in this article — which are in theory no different than explosives strapped to human suicide bombers.]

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 4:01 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Is what Mary Roach suggested my book should have been called, and every time I read a story like this one, the point is driven home.

Detailing a police sting operation in Montclair, N.J., to reduce the number of pedestrians killed in crosswalks as they legally go about their walking (the most common way pedestrians are killed in NYC and apparently parts of N.J.), the story notes:

During the operation, dubbed Cops in Crosswalks, the percentage of motorists who stopped rose from 11 percent in June to 49 percent in August, and more than 800 drivers received $100 traffic-violation tickets, said Sgt. Daniel Pronti, of the Montclair Police Department.

“Most people who committed the violations weren’t even aware they committed a violation,” Sergeant Pronti said. “We learned that education was key to our ultimate goal of making people feel safe.”

Uh, I actually thought the education was supposed to happen before the drivers got their license. And we wonder why Europeans think our driving tests are a joke.

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 3:52 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Democracy in Action

I was intrigued by this story of how Newark, N.J., is installing a number of count-down signals at key intersections, and also lengthening crossing times.

“Part of the reason for the evaluation throughout town is the persistence of resident Shari Gaston, who has been coming to meetings for months to complain about the safety of crossing the street.”

And there’s a poetic justice to the way it’s going down:

Monday at Newark City Council committee meetings, Service Director Kathleen Barch intends to request $7,500 from the funds collected from enforcement of handicap parking to pay for 16 countdown overlay crosswalk lights for four downtown intersections.

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 3:43 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic: It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

The Washington Post reports that Tysons Corner, poster child for “Edge City” sprawl, sees heavier traffic counts at lunch as it does during the morning or evening peaks.

Not everyone, like this lunch commuter, was so worked up about it.

“We drive a mile at most,” he said. “Even with traffic, it’s not more than a couple of minutes.”

Why even take such a short drive?

On a recent sunny weekday, four young financiers got out of Mike Eisenberg’s Acura in the parking lot of the Silver Diner. They took the three-minute drive from their office building, rather than walk. “We’re not willing to risk our lives crossing Route 123,” Eisenberg said.


Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 3:28 pm 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:

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency:

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

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
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



November 2008

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