Archive for October 6th, 2009

Random Fact of the Day

From a report by Boeing:

Since 1970, the actual speed at which passengers boarded an airplane (enplane rate) has slowed by more than 50 percent, down to as low as 9 passengers per minute. (figure 3) Similar through-stop time increases and boarding rates have been observed for wide-body airplanes. The trends are generally attributed to increased passenger carry-on luggage, more emphasis on passenger convenience, passenger demographics, airline service strategies, and airplane flight distance (stage length). Boeing believes that these trends will continue unless the root causes are understood and new tools and processes are developed to reverse the trend.

Of course, new queuing systems have been proposed, but they all depend on compliance — people not sorting through their bag in the overhead compartment and holding up dozens of others, or people boarding out of order and being held back for not being biz class, etc.

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 2:15 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Young Pups

In his entertaining “Nanny State Diaries” presentation before the Distracted Driving Summit, Democratic Rep. Steve Farley made an offhand remark that I found curious: Arizona bans dogs from the back of pickup truck beds but not children. I’m not sure I’ve got this correct, or how it works in other states, but it seems a strange distinction.

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 11:29 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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A Continuous Layer of Mush

The Missouri DOT gives a nice time-lapse (and count-down, or count-up that is, money clock) depiction of a highway’s life span. (Via Infrastructurist)

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 9:51 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Old Big Car Versus New Small Car, Take Two

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 9:28 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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I come across stories like this all the time. The subhead announces, “POLICE are warning tech-savvy school students to unplug, log off and look out, amid a surge in pedestrian deaths in Victoria.”

It then quotes a police official: “It’s no surprise to police that with more and more people, especially school students, owning MP3 players, and lots of people walking and sending text messages, that we’re seeing more and more collisions between distracted pedestrians and vehicles,” Insp Parr said.”

The only problem is that among the surge in deaths reported, we are not given exact figures, or really any clue, as to what extent that has to do with distracted pedestrians, as well as what other factors might have been involved. This is not to dispute the idea that a pedestrian acts differently and loses situational awareness when on a mobile device — and this idea should give any driver pause — but we can’t just announce an iPod scare when for all we know the bulk of the rise in pedestrian fatalities may have been due to distracted (or otherwise negligent) drivers (and there are plenty of observational studies hinting at the added risk to pedestrians from drivers on cell phones, a point raised at the Distracted Driving Summit).

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 9:06 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 Transport column to me at:

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage:

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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



October 2009

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