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Archive for the ‘Book News’ Category

Traffic Ahead

Book officially released tomorrow, though spies in the Windy City report copies are on the street…

P.S. Apparently the interview I did with Terry Gross for Fresh Air will air today, Monday July 28th. I had a weird summer cold that day but it was still great to be interviewed by someone I’ve been listening to for years.

Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2008 at 10:56 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic on the Road

As I put this up a while ago, on the eve of the tour I’ll repost it as there’s been a few small changes. If I’m coming through one of your locales, please don’t hesitate to get in touch (it’s really just a media tour — no readings, but I may be back through at some point). If you’re a journalist or radio/tv producer and would like to set something up, please contact Gabrielle Brooks at Knopf.

Here’s the schedule as it stands so far… and more news to come as it develops:

Monday, July 28 and 29 NEW YORK (Book released)
Wednesday, July 30 BOSTON
Thursday, July 31 WASHINGTON, D.C.
Monday, August 4 NYC/MINNEAPOLIS
Tuesday, August 5 MINNEAPOLIS
Wednesday, August 6 CHICAGO
Thursday, August 7 TORONTO
Friday, August 8 ATLANTA
Tuesday, August 12 SEATTLE
Wednesday, August 13 SEATTLE
Thursday, August 14 SAN FRANCISCO
Friday, August 15 LOS ANGELES
Monday, August 18 LOS ANGELES

Monday, August 25 DUBLIN, IRELAND
Tuesday, August 26 LONDON, ENGLAND
Wednesday, August 27 LONDON, ENGLAND
Thursday, August 28 LONDON, ENGLAND

Posted on Thursday, July 24th, 2008 at 1:03 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Wired Magazine 16.08

I’m up in Boston (hence the slow posting), home of that legendary creature, conductorus bostoniana — i.e., the “Boston driver” — a topic I’ll return to in another post. But just to note there’s a great write-up in the latest issue of Wired, by Josh McHugh (article here or after the jump). In it is discussed briefly a topic I’ll also want to return to in a later post: comparing internet traffic to vehicular traffic.
(more…)

Posted on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 at 5:45 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The purposeful white-glowing pedestrian

I was just reading a nice little write-up of Traffic in O: The Oprah Magazine, and I noticed it was just adjacent to a similar plug for Joseph O’Neill’s fine novel Netherland.

The pairing may have been accidental, but I couldn’t help notice, when reading Netherland, a subtle fascination with traffic. There’s a scene at the DMV, for example, and Chuck Ramkissoon takes the narrator on a series of less than altruistic driving lessons. There’s talk of “crazed traffic diagonals” and “triangular traffic islands.”

My favorite bit, though, was this short description of the comparative physiognomy of “green men”:

“At a certain point, Chuck grabbed my arm and said, ‘Let’s cross now,’ and he trotted quickly across the avenue as a surge of traffic came roaring up. He had, I realized, waited for a moment when the pedestrian light showed the fierce red hand, and then taken his chance. Evidently he felt this gave him an edge—and it did, because it meant that, walking on down Sixth Avenue, he and I were signaled forward at every cross street by the purposeful white-glowing pedestrian whose missionary stride was plainly conceived as an example to all (and whom I cannot help contrasting with his London counterpart, a green gentleman undoubtedly rambling with his golden retriever).”

He’s right about this, Chuck is: Typically the only way for a pedestrian to not encounter a “don’t walk” sign on the next block is to cross against the light on the previous block. The lights are timed for cars, not pedestrians — even though pedestrian traffic is often much heavier in New York City.

Posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 at 3:06 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The Traffic Guru

That’s the title of an essay I’ve written, reflecting on the ideas and legacy of Hans Monderman, the famous Dutch traffic engineer (now there’s an unlikely phrase) who died earlier this year. The piece, which builds upon some material in the book, is just out in the new Wilson Quarterly.

Posted on Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 at 11:53 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Significant Seven

I’m quite honored to be among Amazon’s “Significant Seven” — i.e., the Best Books of the Month.

The 40% discount now makes the book (assuming free shipping) cost less than four gallons of gas. Perfect ‘staycation’ reading!

Posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 at 11:02 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Sounding One’s Own Horn, Part II

A few more early reviews have come in, including a starred review from Library Journal.

“Fascinating… could not have come at a better time.” Library Journal.

While Business Week notes, “Tom Vanderbilt uncovers a raft of counterintuitive facts about what happens when we get behind the wheel, and why.”

And while we’re indulging in this orgy of self-promotion, let’s not forget the original good words that will adorn the book back’s jacket:

“Tom Vanderbilt is one of our best and most interesting writers, with an extraordinary knack for looking at everyday life and explaining, in wonderful and entertaining detail, how it really works. That’s never been more true than with Traffic, where he takes a subject that we all deal with (and worry about), and lets us see it through new eyes. In the process, he helps us understand better not just the highway, but the world. It doesn’t matter whether you drive or take the bus–you’re going to want to read this book.”
–James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds

“A great, deep, multidisciplinary investigation of the dynamics and the psychology of traffic jams. It is fun to read. Anyone who spends more than 19 minutes a day in traffic should read this book.”
–Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author The Black Swan

“Fascinating, illuminating, and endlessly entertaining as well. Vanderbilt shows how a sophisticated understanding of human behavior can illuminate one of the modern world’s most basic and most mysterious endeavors. You’ll learn a lot; and the life you save may be your own.”
–Cass R. Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

“Everyone who drives–and many people who don’t–should read this book. It is a psychology book, a popular science book, and a how-to-save-your-life manual, all rolled into one. I found it gripping and fascinating from the very beginning to the very end.”
–Tyler Cowen, author of Discover Your Inner Economist

Posted on Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 1:04 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic On the Road

I’ll be hitting the road next month, and if I’m coming through one of your locales, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. If you’re a journalist or radio/tv producer and would like to set something up, please contact Gabrielle Brooks at Knopf.

Here’s the schedule as it stands so far:

Monday, July 28 and 29 NEW YORK

Wednesday, July 30 BOSTON

Thursday, July 31 WASHINGTON, D.C.

Friday, August 1 PHILADELPHIA

Monday, August 4 MINNEAPOLIS

Tuesday, August 5 MINNEAPOLIS

Wednesday, August 6 CHICAGO

Thursday, August 7 TORONTO

Friday, August 8 ATLANTA

Tuesday, August 12 SEATTLE

Wednesday, August 13 SEATTLE

Thursday, August 14 SAN FRANCISCO

Friday, August 15 LOS ANGELES

August 24th through Thursday, August 28th: The United Kingdom.

Posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2008 at 8:08 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Of Trade Shows and Traffic

Before attending the Book Expo in Los Angeles the weekend before last, where among other things, I had a great podcast chat with Amazon’s Tom Nissley and a fabulous Knopf dinner at Suzanne Goin’s Lucques, I had written a piece for Publishers Weekly on “traffic” both inside and out of the Convention Center. It was mostly speculative, in the sense I actually hadn’t been to BookExpo in a while.

But the experience of actually navigating the convention brought up a few more things vis a vis what we normally think of when we think of traffic; namely, the flow of people through cities.
(more…)

Posted on Monday, June 9th, 2008 at 1:58 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Getting My Freakonomics On…

The excellent Freakonomics blog has posted a Q&A about the book, with the good questions provided by Annika Mengisen.

The comments, as per usual on the Internet, range from intelligent discourse to reactionary fomenting.

Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2008 at 2:22 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Sounding One’s Own Horn

FurnariSome early reviews of the book have trickled in …

Publishers Weekly calls it “Fresh and timely” and writes: “Vanderbilt investigates how human nature has shaped traffic, and vice versa, finally answering drivers’ most familiar and frustrating questions.”

Kirkus, meanwhile, opines that it is “Fluently written and oddly entertaining, full of points to ponder while stuck at the on-ramp meter or an endless red light.”

And Booklist calls it “informative and engaging,” and says “this may be the most insightful and comprehensive study ever done of driving behavior and how it reveals truths about the types of people we are.”

Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 at 10:53 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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If You Bookmarked Here, You’d Be Home By Now

L.A., as seen from Mike Nolan\'s Cessna. Photo by Tom Vanderbilt.Why does the other lane always seem to be moving faster? When two lanes are forced to merge into one, is it better for you — and everyone else — to merge early, or merge late? Are roundabouts really safer than conventional intersections? Is the road a microcosm of society or an autonomous republic that functions according to its own set of rules? Why does traffic behave differently in differently places? Are large trucks the highway menace they seem? Do men and women actually act differently on the road?

These are the sorts of questions I set out to answer, nearly three years ago, when I first started the book that would become: “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us). I wanted to take an omnipresent everyday activity and environment, one so familiar we seem to stop asking questions of it, and peer into the dynamics of what was really happening, and why. In the process of research, which took me from my own neighborhood streets to the world’s most advanced driving simulator in Iowa, from the traffic bunkers of L.A. to the chaotic, organic motorbike flow of Hanoi, from Italy’s autostrada to Germany’s autobahn, I found many of my own preconceptions upended, my longstanding rules of thumb shattered.

The book will be released by Alfred A. Knopf on July 29, 2008, and shortly after that by Penguin in the U.K., and then in a number of other countries and languages shortly after that. It was difficult to actually finish because each day seemed to bring some thought, some new finding that I thought deserved discussion.

That’s why I’m adding to the bustling traffic of the internet with yet another forum. There were too many things still to say, too many arguments unresolved, too many ongoing developments to report, too many curiosities that could not be contained within the already capacious confines of the book.

Because the internet thrives on traffic, all the good websites with “traffic” in the title were taken. So, for the purposes of this blog, I’ve decided to go with the vaguely Trollope-ish “How We Drive,” a phrase that I hope encompasses both the actual process of driving and the larger societal questions of our automobile-driven lives. I hope you enjoy the ride…

Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008 at 9:04 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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