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Archive for July 6th, 2010

“Leave Your Car in the Garage”

Trawling through some real estate brokerage sites, typically in fairly dense small towns and pre-war suburbs, a refrain keeps catching my eye: “Leave your car in the garage.” The listing will then note the proximity to trains, schools, etc. I’m not sure who first came up with this rallying cry — and based on what I’ve seen in some of these towns (pedestrians being mostly people moving to and from their cars) I wonder if it might be more real-estate bluster than anything else — i.e., the potential of walking is there, as is the potential for the great room to be great and the massive chef’s kitchen to produce fare worthy of Grant Achatz, but in the end this potential gives way to some real or imagined vehicular reality (I need to get groceries, it’s just easier). But I can’t say I’ve ever seen a real estate ad that promised: “Take your car out of the garage, often!”

Posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 8:11 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Tidal Flow in Bogotá

I found myself on the carerra septima this afternoon in Bogotá just shy of 5 p.m. (having just consumed a wonderful dish of la posta negra de Cartagena at the Club Colombia, watched the Netherlands defeat Uruguay, and had a cup of tea from coca leaves to counter the effects of altitude sickness — it seemed to do the trick). In any case Carerra 7 is one of the city’s principle arteries, multiple lanes divided by an island. At 5 p.m., though, something curious happens on this street: It turns into a massive one-way boulevard out of the city, and towards the north. This is an old and much-discussed idea — contraflow lanes — one that was practiced briefly in cities like Los Angeles and made a splash recently in emergency management circles for mass disaster evacuations.

But it was striking to see it in action. At just the stroke of 5 our car was still on 7, and there was already a small stream of vehicles beginning to seep across from the other lane. Their movement was cautious, exploratory, with the first vehicles coming across employing their hazard flashers. Their numbers began to surge, and it was immediately evident that staying on 7 was not prudent. There were one or two traffic police scattered about, and there are signs advising of the change, but one got the sense this was just a bit of ingrained civic behavior, as routine as the clock itself.

Posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 7:05 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Retrofitting Suburbia

I’m wondering if the new development pattern in the Lakewood scheme is having any effects on transportation (i.e., what’s the VMT of people living in Belmar versus others)? And on the subject don’t miss the National Academies podcast (and paper), “Driving and the Built Environment.”

(Thanks Michael)

Posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 8:01 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Does Religion Influence Road Safety?

The conclusion of the study is that being a Catholic country or not seems to be as important as being a wealthy country or not. Being a non-wealthy Catholic country leads to more traffic and hence more motor vehicle accident deaths than being a wealthy Catholic country. Being a wealthy Catholic country, however, does seem to lead to more previous traffic term accidents than being a wealthy non-Catholic country.

That’s from: K. Melinder, “Socio-cultural characteristics of high versus low risk societies regarding road traffic safety,” (2007) Safety Science, 45 (3), pp. 397-414.

Posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 7:45 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The Shady Side of Transportation

Over at KCRW’s Design and Architecture, Francis Anderton considers a part of the built environment often overlooked in transportation questions: Shade. It is remarked that trees in Los Angeles are placed to provide shade for cars, not people walking on sidewalks.

Posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 7:34 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Exposure

From an interesting post at CSV, via Marginal Revolution:

This phenomenon, where improved safety spurs on greater risk taking, is known as risk compensation, or “risk homeostasis”. Most of us became familiar with the concept from debates over anti-lock brakes (ABS), but its specter has plagued nearly every attempt to improve automotive safety, from seat belts to night vision. Yet almost nothing about risk compensation – its etiology, its prevalence, its significance – is certain.

To prove the phenomenon even exists, one particularly inspired British researcher had volunteers ride bicycles on a closed course, with half the people wearing helmets and proper attire, and the other half clad in their underwear. Graduate students positioned on the sidelines graded the volunteers performance and tallied any unsafe maneuvers. The results showed that the unclothed group practiced much safer driving habits, thereby supporting risk compensation theory – and Britain’s reputation for eccentricity.”

Posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 7:31 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 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

 

 

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