CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

Archive for July 30th, 2009

Training Wheels

I know the driving age is low in some Western states, but this is ridiculous.

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Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 2:43 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Left on White

Reader Francisco sends along, via Shorpy, an image sure to delight the ranks of historical traffic signal enthusiasts (that’s the Washington, D.C. traffic director inspecting the hardware circa 1926)

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Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 11:56 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Hanging Up

Illustration by Mike Lukovich

It has been heartening to see the hard science of distracted driving getting such prominent attention, the latest of course being the New York Times coverage of the naturalistic truck study (and keep in mind that truck drivers are statistically safer than civilian drivers) by VTTI (which I look forward to reading in its entirety), followed by today’s announcement of proposed legislation for a texting-while-driving ban pegged to state highway funding. My only qualm with all the texting coverage is that it might push to the side the very real issue of cell-phone conversation while driving, which the cell-phone lobby and others would have us believe is not an issue — they of course don’t want to give up those minutes, those same minutes that preciously tick away as you sit listening to the horrible and lengthy prompts to leave messages.

But the idea of a legislative ban always brings up the issue of the difficulties of enforcement, and along those lines I have been wondering what alternatives (or supplementary tools) there might be to a legislative solution to the problem of wireless communication while driving. (more…)

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Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 11:30 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Kindlenomics

As I was checking on the price of the forthcoming paperback version of the book the other day, I noticed that the paperback price is about four dollars less than the Kindle price, which itself is a few bucks cheaper than the hardcover.

Not owning a Kindle, I am curious about this. One the day the paperback is released, will the Kindle price magically drop to rival the paperback? Or would the Kindle price remain higher than the paperback? (this would seem to make little sense to me as 1.) it is obviously cheaper to produce and distribute the Kindle version than the paperback 2.) The paperback has a potential resale value, however slight; there is no ‘used Kindle book’ market, as of yet at least 3.) There is arguably more longevity with even the paperback version of the book than Kindle — we are still reading ancient manuscripts yet digitized records from the 1980s are in some cases already almost beyond recall, as the technology has changed). I don’t know how true this is, but Nicholson Baker notes in the New Yorker that the Kindle doesn’t handle endnotes very well, which is a big liability in the case of my book (one thing I think Baker neglected to mention is the idea of the “pass along” — how many beloved books have you given to friends? Is this made obsolete with the Kindle?)

Even if it drops, this is still an odd situation to me, which I’m sure an economist could explain in some terms. The Kindle edition’s price at the moment is pegged to the hardcover — or does it reflect its own “Kindle” price, pegged to the cost of producing it, supply and demand, etc.? — and when the paperback is released it will presumably drop in the face of being eroded by the cheaper paperback (unless Kindle owners so cherish their devices they will pay more for a virtual edition). In the meantime, while hardcover and paperback editions are very different things in terms of production costs, the Kindle edition costs will not have changed at all; meaning, depending how you look at it, Amazon will have to relinquish some Kindle profit in light of the paperback, or that that profit was all rather vaporous to begin with. The Kindle edition price point seems to relate to the existence, or lack thereof, of a competing price point in a print edition; it is almost an anti-price, if that makes any sense.

Anyone have any experience with this?

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Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 8:51 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

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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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