Archive for January 20th, 2009

Stappers-Trappers-Openbaar Vervoer-Privévervoer!

Trying saying that quickly four times in a row!

But it comes via Kris Peeters, a mobility consultant for the city of Antwerp (and author of ‘Voorruitperspectief. Wegen van impliciet autodenken,’ or ‘Windscreen perspective: ways of implicit thinking on cars’, a book unfortunately available only in Dutch), who had written in to elucidate on the situation in Belgium (readers of the book will know that I puzzled over the country’s poor road safety record in comparison to neighboring Netherlands, and even France).

He notes that Belgium’s fatalities actually have been dropping:

“The number of people killed in traffic accidents decreased since 2001. In 2000 the number was 1470, in 2007 it was 1067. Most specialists think the explanation is double. First of all in 2003 “tariffs” for traffic offences have been raised substantially. Secondly the Flemish government (northern part of the country) started installing lots of “speed traps” (the word!) and reduced maximum speed limits significantly (most ‘regional roads’ previously had a speed limit of 90km/h, now it’s 70

But, he adds:

The last few years however the decrease of deaths and injuries seems to have stopped due to a hesitating safety policy: some of the fine tariffs have been reconsidered (and even canceled) and efforts done for enforcement are rather ambiguous.”

He also points me to a Flemish program, referenced in the subject line above:

In 2001 the Flemish Parliament introduced the STOP-principle (and since then it was officially adopted by many towns, e.g. Antwerp). In Dutch it is an acronym: “Stappers-Trappers-Openbaar Vervoer-Privévervoer” (S T O P), in English untranslatable as such: “Pedestrians-Bikers-Public Transport – Private Cars”. The principle says that when designing a new street or road the concept should respect the STOP-order: first we should check the interests of the Pedestrians, than those of the bikers — and so on. Of course the principle remains theory in most cases, but the symbolic worth of it can not be overestimated.

Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 2:42 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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‘Why Should We Build New Roads to Crumbling Bridges?’

The Congress for New Urbanism is circulating a petition:

When a bridge collapsed in Minnesota in 2007, Americans were shocked to learn that thousands of bridges across the country were rated “structurally deficient.”

Now Congress is poised to include billions of transportation funds in the next recovery package, but the highway lobby is pushing them to spend it on road expansion, not repairs.

Fill out the fields below to send a strong message to the new Congress demanding accountability in the economic recovery package.

Sign the petition here.

Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 2:21 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Ten Parking Lots: Ed Ruscha Revisited

The Guardian has a slide-show of unsold car stocks around the world, arrayed in vast, serial forms, troubling landscapes of overaccumulation. Like the image of the Los Angeles ports above, which I retrieved via Google Earth, they seem like some strange take on Ed Ruscha’s parking lots. Ruscha saw those lots as a “a machine for the production of oil-spots,” a fleeting and abstract residual artistic form. The cars in these photos are more interesting in the fact that they are still there, rather than what they have left behind.

(hat tip to things magazine)

Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 10:43 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:

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:

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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



January 2009

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