CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

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.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 7:05 pm and is filed under Cars, Cities, Commuting, Congestion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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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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California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
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May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
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Driving Assessment 2009
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PRI World Congress
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Royal Automobile Club
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Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
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American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
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Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
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Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
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Metropolis and Mobile Life
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New York State Association of
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September 26, 2013
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of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
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