Archive for March 30th, 2010

‘The ever lasting scorcher, bent like a hoop, and with sunken cheeks’

You know who you are.

But seriously, this etymological foray into the history of the word chauffeur has me, well, stoked.

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 2:27 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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What say you? Will you yield, and this avoid?

Sorry, one of my favorite bits from Henry V. But reader Matt writes in with a confusing (at least to him, and to me upon first glance) yield situation at an intersection in Pennsylvania (Google Map it at: “matsonford road, west conshohocken pa.” Given the mixed messages of the signage, what sayest thou, readers — will you yield?

Matt lays out the scenario below:

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 2:22 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The Vortex Junction

When I saw the headline, I thought it was referring to where the Santa Monica freeway intersects with the 405, but alas, it’s a novel interchange configuration, suitable for the Slough-ey, office-park-ey, pedestrian-free places of the world, perhaps some kind of next-century CFI.

(thanks Phil)

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 2:12 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The Streets of San Francisco

Next up for Streetfilms: Ray Kelly?

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 2:04 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic Safety Film of the Week

(Thanks Alan)

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 1:59 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Mathematical Theorem Suggests Humans Really Are Sheep

As any Traffic reader knows I have a jones for “collective animal mobility.” I recently across an interesting paper, “Traffic and the visual perception of space,” by Petr Šeba, a physicist with the University of Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic.

As he notes:

During the attempt to line up into a dense traffic people have necessarily to share a limited space under turbulent conditions. From the statistical point view it generally leads to a probability distribution of the distances between the traffic objects (cars or pedestrians). But the problem is not restricted on humans. It comes up again when we try to describe the statistics of distances between perching birds or moving sheep herd. Our aim is to demonstrate that the spacing distribution is generic and independent on the nature of the object considered. We show that this fact is based on the unconscious perception of space that people share with the animals.

Here’s how it was done:

In order to verify this hypothesis we organized a simple experiment with pedestrians in a narrow corridor. Using two light gates we measured their velocity and the time interval that elapsed between two subsequent walkers. This enables us to reconstruct the mutual distances and evaluate the distance probability density. The same device and method was used also for a sheep herd moving through an aisle between two near yards. The third source of data are cars moving on a highway in a dense traffic. The velocity and time stamps of the individual cars were obtained by induction loops placed below the roadway.

The probability distribution of distances between objects in all these cases was essentially the same (suggesting, according to the author, a universal mechanism for estimating time-to-collision and its avoidance). Something to consider in those long holiday security lines at the airport.

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 at 8:11 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.

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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



March 2010

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