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Let the Bot Drive


Last week, at the ITS America conference in New York City, I finally got a chance to actually go for a ride-along in “Junior” (well, a clone anyway), the fully autonomous VW Passat designed by Sebastian Thrun and his colleagues at the Stanford Racing Team, which took second place in DARPA’s Urban Challenge. Mike Montemerlo, who appears in Traffic, was riding in the backseat, where he generated the visualization of our drive that I’ve posted above.

The trip, down an blockaded and empty Eleventh Avenue, just outside the Javits Center, was absolutely unnerving. With a researcher from Volkswagen sitting in the driver’s seat, just in case something went wrong (it didn’t), the car drove a pre-programmed route for ten minutes, stopping at stop signs, navigating around hazards, and whisking back and forth before the assembled crowd. Its behavior — i.e., waiting for another (autonomous) car to fully clear the intersection before proceeding — was arguably better than most of what passes for driving in New York City. What if a barrel suddenly flew into the road, I wanted to know. The car would stop, and then figure out a safe way around the hazard.

Junior lurched a bit here and there, particularly upon stopping and starting, but as Montemerlo noted, the robot was optimized for an autonomous race, without passenger comfort being a priority. But it was striking how quickly I adjusted to the experience, growing perhaps a bit too comfortable with the car’s steady hand, which leads me to believe a societal switch to autonomous driving (at least in certain environments) might not be as big a psychic hurdle as we imagine. Did driving in New York City have anything to teach Junior? Montemerlo noted that given the car’s usual home is Palo Alto, and is thus not so experienced with rain, the algorithms had to optimalized for the day’s wet streets. And again, the street was closed off — put it at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel on Friday afternoon and it might implode.

The concentric bands you see around the car in the video, by the way, are the what the Velodyne High-Definition Lidar is “seeing” as it sweeps, ten times a second, in a 360 degree rotation on the roof of the Passat. You can also make out a number of pedestrians walking here and there. Note also the “target acquisition” the car makes as it approaches the fixed objects. The red bands represent things in motion. It’s hard not to summon The Terminator or some such when watching the video, seeing the omniscient power of the car to detect the array of objects in its path, able to calculate speeds and distance with unerring accuracy, while at the same time not feeling compelled to talk on a cell-phone or fix its hair in the mirror. Drivers, we’ve been warned: This is like Big Blue on wheels.

(video courtesy of Mike Montemerlo)

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Posted on Tuesday, November 25th, 2008 at 1:09 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Top 10

I’m delighted to note that Traffic has been named one of the “Top 10″ books of 2008 both by Planetizen and by Library Journal. Oh, and also one of the “Top 10″ Editor’s Picks (current events category) by Amazon. More to come, I hope!

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Posted on Monday, November 24th, 2008 at 4:25 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Amherst Talk

If you’re in the area, I’ll be talking tomorrow at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst tomorrow, Friday, at 11 a.m. in the Isenberg School of Management. Details here.

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Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008 at 9:43 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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L.A. ‘Traffic Hackers’ Plead Guilty

Readers of Traffic (the Los Angeles bits) may remember my brief encounter with Kartik Patel, the L.A. DOT engineer I interviewed on “Oscar Night” in the city’s traffic bunker. He was later accused, with another engineer, of tampering with the traffic lights during an ongoing labor action.

News comes from the LA Times that Mr. Patel and Gabriel Murillo have “pleaded guilty to a single felony count of illegally accessing a city computer connected to the center.”

I liked Mr. Patel when I met him, so I’m admittedly pleased that he didn’t appear to get a more severe penalty (at one point the DHS had been called in):

“Under the plea deal, sentencing will be delayed one year, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The two must pay full restitution, serve 120 days in jail or complete 240 hours of work with Caltrans or other community service, and must have their computers at home and work monitored.

Defense attorney James Blatt, the lawyer for Murillo, said today that his client had been an exceptional employee and that the matter should have been handled administratively. He noted that despite pleading guilty to a felony, both men would be sentenced to one misdemeanor count and that after a brief period of probation, both sides would dismiss the count and expunge their criminal record.

“This was an emotional collective-bargaining strike situation,” Blatt said. “This should have been handled administratively. Mr. Murillo and Mr. Patel are outstanding citizens and have devoted a significant part of their professional lives to transportation safety in Los Angeles County.”

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Posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2008 at 7:06 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Signs of Progress

From the Bucks Free Press in the U.K.:

“A PROPOSAL to scrap traffic signs in a radical experiment to shake up Marlow’s roads is being seriously discussed by Buckinghamshire County Councillors, it was revealed tonight.

…[Marlow Town councillor Roger] Wilson was inspired to propose the scheme after reading the research of author Tom Vanderbilt in his book: ‘Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do’.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 at 8:38 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Texas

If anyone out there happens to be in Austin, Tx., I’ll be at the Texas Book Festival this weekend, talking about the book with Ben Wear of the Austin-American Statesman.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 at 7:57 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Montreal Talk

For those Canadian readers — and I know you’re out there — and more specifically those in or near Montreal, on Thursday, October 16th at 7 p.m. I’ll be talking about Traffic at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. (where I happen to be spending the month of October).

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Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2008 at 2:54 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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A Miracle of Controlled Chaos

Traffic is mentioned in an elegant paean to commuting in the Guardian by Joe Moran, author of the delightful Queuing for Beginners.

After first describing examining some of the hoary cultural critiques of commuting (“dragged out of sleep at six every morning, jolted about in suburban trains” and “tossed out at the end of the day into the entrance halls of railway stations, those cathedrals of departure for the hell of weekdays,” went one 1968 screed), Moran then goes on to wonder about the psychic value of the daily grind:

“The academic Eva Illouz invented the phrase “cold intimacies” to describe this culture in which emotional literacy is prized, pop psychology defines our identities, and our workplaces stress the importance of empathy and consensus.

We live in a world, Illouz writes, that is “Rousseauian with a vengeance”, in which our “emotions have become entities to be evaluated, inspected, discussed, bargained, quantified, and commodified”. Perhaps, then, we have learnt to welcome the commute as a neutral space where we can escape this obligation to be permanently available to others, and where an informal public life can flourish, without the emotional demands of work or home.”

Further, he notes, there is something to be marveled at in the sheer logistics of it all:

“Amid all the justified moaning about jams and delays, it is worth remembering that this rush-hour movement of 36 million Britons each day is really a miracle of controlled chaos. The National Travel Survey found that more than half of commuters, both in cars and public transport, have no problems with their daily journey. And even the large minority that do have problems generally arrive at work on time and in one piece, without murdering each other.”

He concludes with a curious detail:

“One of my students told me that in Second Life, that virtual world online, no one uses the roads or railways because they can simply teleport to their destinations. Nothing comes between the cyber-citizens and their real estate; commuting has been abolished. And part of me thought: what sort of life is that?”

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Posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 at 7:33 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Braess in Boston?

There’s a part in the book called “The Selfish Commuter,” a bit of a play on Tim Roughgarden’s book Selfish Routing and the Price of Anarchy, that discusses the famous ‘Braess Paradox’ and other ways in which the actions of individual drivers, who may be seeking to maximize their own utility in a transportation network, do not necessarily add up to a more efficiently performing network overall (forming instead a so-called ‘Nash Equilibria,’ which basically means no one driver could change to improve their situation, but nor has a “wisdom of crowds”-esque socially optimal solution been reached). Dietrich Braess, the mathematician after who this famous paradox is labeled, speculated that adding links to a network could, counterintuitively, make things worse (or that closing roads could make things better).

Via Freakonomics and Ars Technica, I was tipped off to a new paper, “The Price of Anarchy in Transportation Networks: Efficiency and Optimality Control,” by Hyejin Youn and Hawoong Jeong at the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology and Michael Gastner of the University of New Mexico’s Sante Fe Institute, appearing in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters.

What’s interesting about the paper (available here) at least from what I can discern of it (and I’ll be the first to admit my mathematical innumeracy), is that the researchers have applied the theories of Braess, et al., to actual road networks, including Boston, pictured above. They examined a particular section of road network where the “price of anarchy” (essentially letting drivers make their own route choices) was highest. They then compared the original network to a new condition in which one of the 246 streets was closed to traffic. “In most cases,” they write, “the cost increases when one street is blocked, as intuitively expected.”

However, they found six places where, they write, the removal of one will actually “decrease the delay in the Nash equilibrium, shown as dotted lines in Fig. 2. [above]. If all drivers ideally cooperated to reach the social optimum, these roads could be helpful; otherwise it is better to close these streets.” It’s hard to imagine residents of those streets petitioning local politicians that closing their streets to traffic would help offset “disadvantageous Nash flow.”

In any case, the finding — which implies that Braess paradox is “more than an academic curiosity” — should really blow Click and Clack’s minds up in Harvard Square. I’d be curious to hear of potential criticisms of the work (via email that is sent in the most socially optimal manner!)

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Posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 at 2:37 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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You Want a Revolution

I got a nice mention in a piece in this week’s Time on roundabouts:

“Carmel, Ind., is driving in circles. Since 2001, the Indianapolis suburb has built 50 roundabouts, those circular alternatives to street intersections that have become a transit fixture in much of the rest of the world. Because roundabouts force cars to travel through a crossroads in a slower but more free-flowing manner–unlike traffic circles, roundabouts have no stop signals–in seven years, Carmel has seen a 78% drop in accidents involving injuries, not to mention a savings of some 24,000 gal. of gas per year per roundabout because of less car idling. “As our population densities become more like Europe’s,” says Mayor Jim Brainard, who received a climate-protection award this year from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, “roundabouts will become more popular.”

About 1,000 roundabouts have been built in 25 states, and research bears out the benefits to states like Kansas, where the new design has produced a 65% average drop in vehicular delays, according to a recent Kansas State University study. Most roundabouts are also more aesthetically pleasing and cost much less to construct than stoplight intersections. The problem is teaching Americans how to navigate them. (Folks, cars entering a roundabout yield to those already in it.) But the heightened anxiety people feel in roundabouts makes them drive more carefully and remember that intersections are dangerous places. And as Tom Vanderbilt notes in this summer’s best seller Traffic, “The system that makes us more aware of this is actually the safer one.”

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Posted on Saturday, September 6th, 2008 at 12:23 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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How I Failed the British Driving Test

Relax? Photo by Tom Vanderbilt.

Are the driving tests of some countries more difficult than others? Do the people who do the best on the driving test go on to be the best drivers? Which gender has the higher pass rate? Can Grand Theft Auto make you a better driver? Do tough tests make for a better traffic safety record? Did Jeremy Clarkson and Quentin Wilson both take a tumble on the new-and-improved British driving test? And, what should you do if see a horse and rider in a roundabout?

Watch as I suffer through the “blunt instrument” known as the British driving test. All the gory wrong-side-of-the-road details are in today’s Guardian (here or below the jump).

(more…)

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Posted on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 at 5:24 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic Jams, Part 2

I’m briefly in Dublin — lovely city but I’m trying to figure out the traffic. Is it me or do the pedestrian crossings seem harder than they should in the center? I feel as if I’ve been waiting for the lights a long time at what seem like minor streets (even after pushing the button), as a trickle of cars go by at rather high speeds. So I jaywalk when I can. On the ride from the airport, the driver of the car I was in was pulled over by a cop for being in the bus/taxi lane. Turns out there’s a lawsuit in the works to let limos use that lane too, which hasn’t been settled. But the Garda officer and the driver exchanged a few pleasantries and we were on our way. The driver said to me: “In England, the police would have given me a ticket. Here you can talk your way out of these things.”

I was just reading a profile of former Blur frontman Damon Albarn in the Sunday Times when this line jumped out: “He’s about to release an LP – the real vinyl thing – of Chinese traffic noise.” Wow. The mind reels. One track for each city? “Guangzhou Morning Rush Hour?” Anyone know any further details on this one?

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Posted on Sunday, August 24th, 2008 at 1:55 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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My Top 10 Traffic Jams

On the heels of the “traffic movies” entry, here, from the department of traffico-musicological studies, comes a list of songs about traffic that spoke to me in some way while working on the book.

These are traffic songs, mind you, not “car songs,” per se, so you won’t find (maybe with some slight exceptions) any tired old paeans to Cadillacs or homages to the lure of the open road (because I’m more interested in the less-than-open road). Rather, these are songs that somehow related to some part of the weird traffic world I’ve been investigating. Nothing against Stevie Winwood, but there are no songs by the band Traffic here; I was also dismayed to find out the song “Roundabout” by Yes is not actually about intersection treatments (though I’m still not sure what that song is about in any case).

In any case, here’s the list (iTunes mix below)… And I’d like to hear further suggestions in the comments…

1. “Crosstown Traffic.” Jimi Hendrix. OK, granted, this song isn’t really about traffic. When Hendrix sings: “All you do is slow me down/ And I’m tryin’ to get on the other side of town”; or “But darlin cant you see my signals turn from green to red/ And with you I can see a traffic jam straight up ahead,” we can assume he’s not really concerned with intersection capacity or Levels of Service. Still, it begs the question: If the narrator had congestion pricing in his town, would he be able to get that much faster to those “better things on the other side of town”?

2. “Autobahn.” Kraftwerk. Who even knows what they’re really singing here — with BabelFish, you get some vaguely poetic, though no doubt mistranslated, glimmerings: “The lane is a grey volume/ White stripes, the Green edge.” But sort of in the way I wish all airports actually played Eno’s Music for Airports, instead of horribly loud CNN, I wish all highways actually sounded like this. Perhaps, as with Japan’s “melody road” paving scheme, engineers could record “Autobahn” into the pavement, like grooves on vinyl, and driving the proper speed would yield this sonic surprise.

3. “Expressway to Your Heart.” The Soul Survivors. Rather like Hendrix, this isn’t really about traffic, but about trying to “get through” to a woman. “Now there’s too many ahead of me/ They’re all the time gettin’ in front of me/ I thought I could find a clear road ahead/But I found stoplights instead.” But it’s a nice description of actual traffic woes, and who couldn’t love a song that begins with horns honking? “Expressway to Your Skull,” by Sonic Youth, also rates here — at least as a title.

4. “Traffic and Weather.” Fountains of Wayne. I’ve been in a lot of morning TV studios lately, and it’s always fascinating to me the way “traffic and weather” are lumped together, as if they were both natural forces, full of trends and patterns, both to be monitored by various sensors and “forecast.” This song uses that conceit for a bit of romantic suggestion: “Oooh we belong together/ Like traffic and weather/ Like traffic and weather.” The Fountains are also to be commended for “’92 Subaru,” which imagines the eponymous vehicle as the ultimate chick-magnet.

5. “She Can Stop Traffic.” The Television Personalities. OK, there’s not much to this song from the underrated and famously erratic Personalities. But I dare you to listen and not find yourself singing along to the inane but infectious lyrics: “She can stop traffic/ She can do magic/ Love can be magic,
but she can stop traffic.” I suppose buried in there is some notion of the role of external sources of driver distraction and its deleterious effects on traffic flow.

6. “Traffic.” The Reyes Bros. I heard this a while ago in L.A. stuck on La Cienaga and it just seemed to fit the rhythm of the actual traffic perfectly (not that I was in a low-rider or anything) . “Hit the gas/hit the brake,” and then that drawling langourous chorus, “IN TRAH-ffic…”

7. “Traffic Jam.” James Taylor. I’m no big JT fan but let’s give credit for just coming up with a little bluesy ditty about congestion (if only because he know he’d clock future royalties as it was played to death during drive-time traffic updates), with its surreal moments: “Now I almost had a heart attack/ Looking in my rear view mirror/ I saw myself the next car back/Looking in the rear view mirror/’Bout to have a heart attack.” Actually, I should really rather cite Artie Shaw’s “Traffic Jam” instead, which does a nice job of simulating the flow of traffic (at least as it sounded in the 1930s) vis a vis big-band arrangement.

8. “Long Line of Cars.” Cake. This SoCal band’s actually a little traffic obsessed. In “Comfort Eagle,” for example, they sing: “We are building a religion/ We are building it bigger/ We are widening the corridors/ And adding more lanes.” And in the aptly named “Long Line of Cars,” they offer suggestive nuggets like “There’s no single explanation/ There’s no central destination,” before concluding with what every driver should probably keep as their mantra in traffic: “And this long line of cars/
Is all because of me.”

9. “Don’t Think About Her When You’re Trying to Drive.” Little Village. The John Hiatt & Co. “supergroup” offer this subtle reminder about the dangers of distracted driving as the narrator looks to put a little distance between himself and his ex-love. There’s a kind of companion song here recently out from Ry Cooder in I, Flathead, “Drive Like I’ve Never Been Hurt.” We could go down this road all day, with Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” etc., but I’ll stop now.

10. “Traffic Light.” The Ting Tings. Another entry in the strange love-as-traffic metaphor sweepstakes comes this number, from the English indie-poppers. Not totally my cup of tea, but I do llove that they worked a roundabout into a song: “…and don’t you be a round-a-bout/ no not another round-a-bout/ we’ve come so far, yet back to the start/ don’t you be a round-a-bout.”

(thanks to Aaron Cohen)

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Posted on Thursday, August 21st, 2008 at 1:43 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The Traffic Guru

Rosalie Gascoigne, "Metropolis"

Just a quick alert that my Wilson Quarterly essay on Hans Monderman is now available online. I’ve also posted the text after the jump, but I always recommend checking out the WQ site in general.

(more…)

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Posted on Sunday, August 17th, 2008 at 10:27 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Crash

More regular posting will return now that the U.S. portion of the book tour has ended. It was a dizzying week, with loads of entertaining radio appearances, and some talks before Microsoft, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and Google. The last was particularly fascinating as it was my first visit to the campus at Mountain View, an otherworldly place of lunch-time volleyball games, “Expecting Mother” parking spaces, Chinese language study groups, free smoothie bars and gyms, and, brushing right past me, a pair of cleats in hand, Sergey Brin. The Google audience was very friendly but with challenging questions, and my favorite moment came when one person asked me to sign his speeding ticket — acquired while he was listening to me on NPR’s Fresh Air! I can only imagine the interview was so engrossing he lost sight of the speedometer, or perhaps he was racing to his nearest good book store to snap it up.

In Los Angeles, I had a strange moment as I was out on a shoot with Val Zevala and a crew from KCET. Well, there were a number of strange moments. As we stood chatting on a overpass on the Ventura freeway, I saw a man come along, riding a bike in the breakdown lane, even as cars whizzed past at 60 mph. He maneuvered his way past on-ramps with some difficulty. I’m all for vehicular cycling, but this was a touch extreme. Soon enough a CHP officer came along to ask us what we were doing — someone had apparently called in a report that some people were partaking in strange activities on the overpass (though is there anything less strange in L.A. than filming?)

In the book I quote a line from the film Crash (the one moment in the film that recalls the earlier film Crash, based on the J.G. Ballard novel) when the character played by Don Cheadle notes: “We’re always behind metal and glass… It’s the sense of touch. I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something.” In any case, I was in a minivan driving through Beverly Hills with the crew, and as we stopped to enter a parking lot, waiting for a vehicle to exit, the trailing vehicle behind us (also from KCET) was struck by a car that itself was struck by another car. There was a loud, almost familiar sound, and the camera guys bundled out to see what had happened (NB: It’s the second crash I’ve witnessed while out on shoots for the book).

It was a classic urban crash. It’s said that close to half of all crashes occur within or near intersections, and in this case it seemed the last car, perhaps rushing to “beat the yellow” didn’t notice the queue of unexpectedly stopped vehicles, and so struck the car (a Scion) behind the second KCET van. The crash raised two issues in my mind: The first, as noted by my colleague Kenneth Todd, being the inherent danger of traffic lights as a design solution. The amber phase tends to encourage people to accelerate to “beat the light,” and they tend to look up at the lights the very moment they should really be scanning the intersection for turning vehicles, etc. Unfortunately, like all signals in traffic, drivers tend not to rigidly obey their command but use them as only another stage in the decision making process: Should I stay or should I go?

The drivers were a bit shaken up, but it was their cars that took the brunt of damage. The Scion driver, commenting on the other driver’s decision at the light, noted how she never accelerates immediately through the green, as so many people are still going through, often at high speed. And she’s right. Engineers in many places have had to lengthen the “clearance phase,” or that all-red moment when no one is supposed to go through, precisely because so many people are choosing to violate the red light.

But the strange Crash style moment came right when the Scion driver emerged and saw the news crew. She looked at Val and immediately smiled. “I love your show! I watch it all the time.” When I thought about it later, the crash was the first actual encounter with another human we had had in all the afternoon’s driving.

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Posted on Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at 2:10 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The List

From the upcoming New York Times. Champagne corks are popping. The placement (just squeaking on to the big list, tied with a book I’d like to read), is funny, as an alternate title for my book could be “Driver Rant.”

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Posted on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 at 4:41 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Westerly

Posting will again be a bit interrupted, as I’m heading off to the West Coast swing of the tour (there are no bookstore events, mind you, just lots of media and some smaller talks). And I’ll also be blogging this week for Powell’s, the legendary Portland institution, whose many warrens of books I have idled amongst for hours…

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Posted on Monday, August 11th, 2008 at 12:32 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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This Sunday’s New York Times Book Review

Illustration by Joon Mo Kang

There’s a fantastic review of Traffic, by Mary Roach, in the Book Review that I usually get tomorrow morning. If you check out the review, you’ll understand my elation (she asks — asks! — for more traffic history). That it’s on the cover adds to the delight, of course. The graphic by Joon Mo Kang is absolute brilliance.

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Posted on Friday, August 8th, 2008 at 5:53 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic Report

I’ve been experiencing a lot more airport congestion than actual road traffic lately — about to leave Toronto for Atlanta. I had a too-brief swing through Chicago, where the highlight for me was the chance to sit down, for two hours, with Milt Rosenberg, at WGN. Milt, for the uninitiated, is a Chicago institution (like WGN itself), a University of Chicago psychologist by day and, at night, the voice of “Extension 720,” a great, intimate, last-of-its-kind night show on which for the past three decades he’s talked to everyone from Norman Mailer to Henry Kissinger. Meeting Milt felt like a bit like walking into a Saul Bellow novel — U of C tweed with a dash of the exuberant vigor of the Chicago streets — and even before the interview we had a wide-ranging conversation that covered everything from Alfred Kazin (Milt’s an old Brooklyn-ite) to Chicago politics. Then, of course, we talked about traffic.

Also of note is that tomorrow I’ll be on NPR’s Science Friday, the great show hosted by Ira Flatow — if I don’t get stuck on Atlanta’s highways…

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Posted on Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 3:28 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Trafficking

I’m on Day Two of the tour, and in the wake of some of the media coverage, I’ve been getting loads of great emails — unfortunately doing all the media has left me with little time to do anything else. But thanks to those who’ve written and I will get back to you …

In the meantime here’s a quick roundup of what’s been going on:

A brief, and slightly unnerving, bit on the Today Show yesterday…

A great write-up in USA Today…

An interview with Leonard Lopate on WNYC…

A segment on ABC’s Nightline I’ve not even had a chance to watch yet, unfortunately shot on that same day I had the weird summer cold…

There’s more, and more to come… but the streets of Boston await!

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Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 at 6:04 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

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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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