Archive for April 16th, 2010

Travel Problems Then and Now

From a Canadian historical exhibition called “In Quarantine”:

During the first half of the 19th century, many immigrants who ventured across the ocean by sailing ship never made it to America, falling victim to the terrible conditions of the voyage. At the time, transportation by sea was not regulated, and the steerage areas of the ship were designed to carry goods, not passengers.

There was a constant lack of space, ventilation, food and water aboard most sailing vessels. Some 200 to 400 passengers were crowded in steerage. Without enough bunks for everyone, they often had to take turns sleeping. When the weather was fair, the passengers could stretch out on the lower part of the deck, but the frequent storms confined them for days in a dirty, airless compartment, stuffed with baggage and all manner of garbage. Drinking water and food went bad rapidly. Provisions quickly ran short if the ship’s arrival at Québec was delayed by a dead calm, contrary winds or ice. All of these factors, plus seasickness, contributed to the outbreak and transmission of diseases that were too often fatal.

Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010 at 11:10 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The Safety Mirage

Via Brownstoner, I couldn’t help be horrified by the above aesthetic outrage, which seems like some sinister prelude to paving with asphalt (or else the paint fumes are getting to the crew). But I was struck by the comments: People really do seem to sincerely believe that there is a need for yellow dividing lines on presumably low-speed (particularly since they’re Belgian-blocked) streets, as if the mere fact that they were there was proof enough of their rationale and safety.

It’s amazing how our instinct fools us here. But, sorry folks, per your comments, yellow dividing lines aren’t going to keep your children safe, aren’t going to prevent crashes, aren’t going to magically keep drivers from swerving over into the other lane — the only effect that they’re going to have on driver behavior is to increase their speed (and hence raise danger for everyone) and even narrow their passing distance, as they grow confident in the delineation of their space. Dividing lines have absolutely no place on narrow, slow-moving, pedestrian-crowded urban streets. Save it for the highway.

Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010 at 7:04 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 Transport column to me at:

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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



April 2010

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