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Archive for January 9th, 2009

More Tickets, More Revenue, Fewer Crashes

It’s not uncommon to hear gripes of how traffic tickets, red light cameras, and the like are merely intended to boost revenues for cash-hungry towns. An interesting new paper from Michael D. Makowsky and Thomas Stratmann, looking at municipalities in Massachusetts (where the majority of tickets given by towns go to out-of-town drivers, particularly when towns are strapped, as indicated by their move to override the property tax cap) suggests that the revenue imperative in itself can help make the roads safer.

They write: “This paper shows that traffic fines reduce the number of car accidents and related injuries. We address the endogeneity problem that remains after using town and time effects by estimating the fixed effects model with instrumental variables. Our instrument is whether a town asked for more money through an override referendum and it’s interaction with stopped out of town drivers. Using panel data, we find that more tickets are issued when a town has asked for an override referendum, and that tickets issuance increase the more out of town drivers that are stopped, lending support to the tax exporting hypothesis while controlling for town fixed effects. Using these estimates, we find that tickets are a far more effective reducer of car accidents and automobile accident related injuries than ordinary least square estimation would indicate.”

Also of interest: “We find that in town with financial distress police officers are more likely to issue a ticket than a warning to out of town drivers.” (a finding that essentially jibes with what they concluded in another good paper, Makowsky, M. D. and T. Stratmann (2009). “Political Economy at Any Speed: What Determines Traffic Citations.” American Economic Review 99(1).

(via Marginal Revolution)

Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2009 at 1:10 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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‘Like a Violation of An Old Trust’

“Why is the motorway culture drearier in Europe than anywhere in America? Perhaps because it is imitative and looks hackneyed and unstylish and ill fitting, the way no European looks quite right in a baseball cap. While the gas stations and industrial parks matched the disposable dreariness of American architecture, set against a French landscape they looked perverse, with Gothic spires and haywains and medieval chalets in the distance, like a violation of an old trust, the compact plowed fields and meadows set off by ugly roads and crash barriers.”

From Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star.

Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2009 at 12:49 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 Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau: rhspeakers@randomhouse.com.

Order Traffic from:

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U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from Amazon.co.uk.

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
Toronto

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
BoingBoing.com “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

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

 

 

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