CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

Archive for May 28th, 2009

What About Happy Hour?

An item from the AP notes:

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Supreme Court says police were within their rights to pull over a drunken driver whose vehicle briefly crossed the center line.

The case involves Michael Popke, who was stopped in 2007 in New London after an officer saw his vehicle briefly drive into the left lane. His blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit, and Popke was charged with third-offense drunken driving.

An appeals court had ruled the stop unconstitutional, saying police did not have probable cause to pull him over.

The unanimous Supreme Court overturned that decision Wednesday. Justice Annette Ziegler says the stop was reasonable because Popke was driving erratically at 1:30 a.m.

Does this mean that police do not have probable cause to pull over a driver driving erratically at, say, 1:30 p.m.? What if the police had phoned in the tags, and noted he was a repeat drunk-driving offender — does that represent probable cause, or is that viewed as some kind of “profiling” (e.g., profiling hazardous drivers)?

Posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 1:58 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
Comments Off on What About Happy Hour?. Click here to leave a comment.

Do Smart Cars Breed Resentment?

There’s a curious discussion over on the bulletin boards of the Smart car owners site, oriented around the question of whether the drivers of other cars consider it an insult to be passed by a Smart car. Apparently the phrase “passed by a Smart” is highly Google-able.

Most theories seem to revolve around other drivers not considering the Smart a “real car” — i.e., they take umbrage when the smaller vehicle passes them (masculinity issues or some such), or the site of the small car hurtling along at an “impossible” speed makes them think they themselves must be driving slowly.

When I drove the smart in NYC, I found two general reactions: Versions of the above, and then outright, gushing approval (typically from pedestrians, though, more from other drivers). Sometimes people would seem to be upset that I had passed them, as they would then rev their engine to pass. As a side note, I occasionally witness this on a bike as well — drivers desperate to get ahead of me, even as we approach a red light (but a bike will always win because a car has to begin braking sooner, and because a bike can ride in the space in-between of course), almost as if they were trying to valiantly justify their automotive choice, or reclaim its presumed velocity advantage.

(Horn honk to Rick)

Posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 9:56 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
Comments Off on Do Smart Cars Breed Resentment?. Click here to leave a comment.

Some Ring Roads Are Bigger Than Others…

Via Strange Maps (via Kottke), an interesting project from Rice University measuring the size of ring roads globally…

Strange Maps writes:

In London Orbital, writer, walker and Londoner Iain Sinclair approaches his favourite subject – his home town – by circumambulating it. The book details his trek along the M25, London’s ring road.

Sinclair completes the 117 mile (188 km) journey in 592 pages, which works out to 5 pages per mile (or 3 per kilometer). As ring roads go, London’s is one of the longer ones – which can with some difficulty be gleaned from this map.

The map layers the peripheral highways of 27 of the world’s larger cities onto a poster, designed by the Rice School of Architecture in Houston, TX. That location is no coincidence, because the poster highlights a record for Houston: it has the largest ring road in the world (or at least the largest of all the world cities surveyed).

However, it is unclear how long a book Mr Sinclair would have to write, were he to transplant his peripatetic procedure (and the same distance-to-volume ratio) from London to Houston.

The city at the centre of the US’s sixth-largest metropolitan area (with 5.7 million inhabitants) has three ring roads: Interstate 610 [circling downtown in a 38-mile (61-km) loop], Beltway 8 [about 83 miles, or 137 km] and the as yet unfinished Grand Parkway [State Highway 99].

Clearly, for Houston to have the world’s longest loop, the big black blob on this map could only be the latter. But a few problems arise. Four, to be exact.

One: the Grand Parkway is far from finished. Only two of 11 segments are completed. However tempting it may be, it is hardly fair to tout something as “the world’s largest” before it’s been completed. Especially since, as any large-scale project, the Grand Parkway has its share of detractors. So it might never get done.

Two: even if it is to be completed, plans may change and length might vary. The website for the Grand Parkway Association doesn’t specify beyond the “circumferential scenic highway” going to be “180+ miles” (app. 290 km) long.

Three: the Houston orbital outsizes all others on this map to such an extent that it’s difficult to imagine its circumference to be no larger than London’s by a factor of 180 to 117.

And finally, four: now that I’m mentioning London’s orbital road again — the website for the UK’s Highway Agency states that the M25 is… the longest ring road in the world.

While the identity of the actual highway(s) surrounding Houston and depicted here remains elusive, it is beyond doubt that the Texan city has a large surface, a fact attested by a map posted earlier on this blog (#327), the discussion of which also touches upon the phenomenon of sprawl (large conurbations with relatively low population density) as a result of increased mobility.

Posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 8:54 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
Comments Off on Some Ring Roads Are Bigger Than Others…. Click here to leave a comment.

Epidemics, Continued

I earlier ruminated on what might happen to traffic fatalities in the midst of the swine flu epidemic (and noted the vast gulf between the numbers of deaths from both causes).

An answer of sorts has come from Mexico City, from Eric Britton over at World Streets. Via the newspaper Reforma, we learn:

Apparently the swine flu in Mexico City caused few real deaths but many traffic deaths. The large drop in the volume of cars increased velocities and also increased traffic fatalities. There were 12 traffic fatalities in the 6 days before the government issued their swine flu alert and 75 traffic fatalities in the 6 days after.

Here is the kicker: the increase in traffic deaths (63) dwarfs the number of swine flu deaths (8) during those six days.

This is hardly scientific, and I’m dubious increased speeds would be the main reason — I’d guess instead higher exposure from people avoiding public transit — but it is certainly suggestive.

Posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 8:44 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
Comments Off on Epidemics, Continued. Click here to leave a comment.
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:

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 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

 

 

Twitter
May 2009
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jun »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

No, http://www.knixie.net/ you probably http://www.keilpumps.net/ won be compensated one million dollars; however, with the right http://www.thebootpub.com/ blend http://www.trollophut.com/ of negotiating skills and patience, your efforts will be http://www.thrivingin2010.com/ substantially rewarded!I have seen up to forty http://www.keetraining.com thousand http://www.openairblog.com dollars added to starting compensation through diligent http://www.eopic.com negotiations. It is a way to http://www.waafia.com significantly raise your standard of living http://www.stanleybarker.com and sense of self, simply by