Traffic

Traffic

Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
5
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Analyzes the complex social, physical, psychological, and technical factors that dictate how traffic works, why we drive the way we do, and what our driving reveals about us, discussing the unintended consequences of attempts to engineer safety.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307264787
0307264785
9780307397720
0307397726
Characteristics: viii, 402 p. ; 25 cm

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JohnK_KCMO Dec 05, 2016

This book should be required reading for all driver's ed courses. It radically changed the way I drive and helped me better understand how traffic works and flows. I truly believe this book made me safer behind the wheel.

r
RussWill
Oct 14, 2014

I am very surprised at how much this book has improved my understanding of the entire world. From pedestrian traffic and packed elevators to traffic jams and mob mentality.

Its written in the popular "Gladwell" style, so a more technical reader would find it slow.

If nothing else, I no longer rage when I'm stuck in traffic. And that's wonderful.

d
derekwolfgram
Nov 29, 2010

I expected to enjoy Traffic quite a bit - as a person with a psychology degree who loves to drive, I really looked forward to some interesting insights into human behavior behind the wheel. However, I only read about 60 pages into the book before I put it down.

One element I disliked was the narrative voice. Much of the book is written in the first person plural, and many of the sentence structures are awkward. To wit: "So whether we're cocky, compensating for feeling fearful, or just plain clueless, the roads are filled with a majority of above-average drivers (particularly men), each of whom seems intent on maintaining their sense of above-averageness."

While I do like the evidence provided for some twists on conventional wisdom (for example, that cell phone use while driving is not significantly worse than any of a hundred other ways drivers distract themselves), I was left unsatisifed by the explanations in the chapter "Why Does the Other Lane Always Seem Faster?" While the book is clearly carefully researched and the author enjoys the material, Traffic just doesn't ever get up to speed.

n
naurek
Feb 20, 2010

Interesting book. I definitely think about it often while I'm driving.
(It's not as long as it looks, about 100 pages are acknowledgements.)

r
randalljay
Oct 06, 2008

Very good book for all drivers; Ministry of Transport should read it too.

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