03 January 2009

"Traffic" by Tom Vanderbilt

I recently finished reading the book Traffic - Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us) written by Tom Vanderbilt.

It was solid going but gave me an excellent insight into many of the issues my road transport colleagues at the New Zealand Ministry of Transport are grappling with, both on the safety and infrastructure sides of research and policy development, as we try to reduce the road toll and congestion.

The book is very good on the psychology of driving. The author also examines in some depth what we might regard as counter intuitive behaviour, like how removing traffic signs can make a road safer. His insights on cultural factors were also very interesting. Personally one of the key lessons I took out of the book is how unsafe it is to drive while talking on a cell phone, even a hands free one.

Reviews of Traffic have appeared in:
The author has a good web site including a weblog, How We Drive, relating to traffic issues.

No comments: