Archive for June 5th, 2009

More on Emotionally Intellignent Signage

Sign nuts: Don’t miss Daniel Pink’s pecha-kuchka presentation on “emotionally intelligent” signage, as referenced in the previous post.

Posted on Friday, June 5th, 2009 at 2:49 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Of Flying Monkeys and DIY Traffic Signs

Reader Shasha sends in this great example of merging property rights with some home-made driver beahvior modification. Considered it entered in the new MUTCD — the Manual of Unofficial Traffic Calming Devices.

Shasha’s rationale was as follows:

We live on a small and relatively quiet road. The speed limit on our road should be 40 (curves, narrow, and hills). However, like all county roads in our county, the speed limit is 55. This means that people actually attempt to go 55 or faster.

I have spoken with our local authorities about putting up signs that state “Slow, Children at Play.” It seems that those signs are no longer legal to use, as it indicates that children have permission to play in the road. Hmmmm.

So, I decided to put up signs on my own land. I figure if they are funny and memorable, people may think and slow down. Or, if nothing else, they will slow down simply to see the signs. This sign (Watch for Flying Monkeys) comes from a picture I took of SuperS who was swinging from a rope in the front of our house. Yes, he appeared like a monkey. I thought it would be perfect. With a little design magic, I created a sign and posted one on each side of the road — as people approach our house / driveway.

I’m not sure it’s emotionally intelligent signage however, as it asks us to have empathy for flying monkeys, a creature few of us have seen.

Posted on Friday, June 5th, 2009 at 2:40 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The Curious Politics of Congestion Charging

I’ve often thought it interesting that congestion charging tends to appeal to aspects of both the right (e.g., free-market economists) and the left (e.g., public transportation advocates). You might say that the economists want better roads and less trafic, while the public transport people want more government directed toward their favored mode (and away heavily subsidized roads).

In any case, this left-right alliance was made strikingly clear in the recent response to U.K. transport secretary Geoff Hoon’s recent gloomy comments on the prospect of nation-wide road-user pricing, as the FT notes here.

Stephen Glaister, director of the pro-motoring RAC Foundation, said a system of direct charging for road use was vital to providing the revenue for expanding the road network.

Stephen Joseph, executive director of the pro-public transport Campaign for Better Transport, said a road-pricing system was inevitable if growing congestion on Britain’s roads was to be tackled and demand managed.

It’s hard to immediately think of another issue which unites these disparate groups, if for different end results.

Posted on Friday, June 5th, 2009 at 2:31 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:

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

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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



June 2009

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