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Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) | [Tom Vanderbilt]

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

Driving is a fact of life. We are all spending more and more time on the road, and traffic is an issue we face everyday. This audiobook will make you think about it in a whole new light.
Regular Price:$35.93
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Publisher's Summary

Driving is a fact of life. We are all spending more and more time on the road, and traffic is an issue we face everyday. This audiobook will make you think about it in a whole new light.

We have always had a passion for cars and driving. Now Traffic offers us an exceptionally rich understanding of that passion. Vanderbilt explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our attempts to engineer safety, and even identifies the most common mistakes drivers make in parking lots. Based on exhaustive research and interviews with driving experts and traffic officials around the globe, Traffic gets under the hood of the quotidian activity of driving to uncover the surprisingly complex web of physical, psychological and technical factors that explain how traffic works.

©2008 Tom Vanderbilt; (P)2008 Books on Tape

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (345 )
5 star
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3.9 (140 )
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Story
3.9 (139 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12

    mostly nonfiction listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
    555
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    "Driving Towards Traffic"

    "Traffic" freaked me out. I knew that 40,000 people died each year on our roads. And I knew that a car accident was the most likely way that trauma would encroach into my world. Vanderbilt gives me lots more things to worry about (like Dr's have the 2nd highest accident rate, pick-up trucks are dangerous to everyone else, new cars have higher accident rates then older cars, and intersections are bad news for bikers, runners, and drivers.

    This is a book I'd like my girls to read as a prerequisite to getting their license (and I'll install the driver cam that Vanderbilt writes about being effective in teaching young drivers defensive skills).

    Read the book. Slow down on the roads.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stefan Arlington, VA, USA 10-10-08
    Stefan Arlington, VA, USA 10-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thumbs up. May not be for everyone."

    You know, I'd have to disagree with the first member review.

    I purchased this audio book to take a break from science fiction and I blazed through this book while... listening to traffic. Yes, the author does present a lot of various studies and data, but he manages to put everything into a sort of context that progresses smoothly. Heck - he's even able to make a joke every once in a while.

    He presents different aspects of traffic: psychology, sociology, traffic engineering, safety devices, etc. All these various topics seem to merge together in the final conclusion, no pun intended. So, I think in the end, you have to be able to tolerate through a lot of numbers, so to speak, otherwise I'm sure you might get kind of lost in the presentation of the material. If you don't care about understanding the various mechanisms in traffic, you're not going to get anything out of this book.

    I did really enjoy this book - a lot of the topics I found personally interesting and I walked away with a slightly different perspective of the world around me.

    26 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Burlington, VT, United States 11-14-10
    J Burlington, VT, United States 11-14-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting Content, Well Narrated"

    While this book may not have all of the answers, it is far more thoughtful and thorough than some of the reviewers let on. I read/listen to mostly science books and biographies, but I got this book on a whim and was pleasantly surprised.

    The author is philosophical and witty, and is rarely patronizing or redundant. The content flows nicely and the narration is spot on - making it well suited for the audio format. If you are looking for a good audiobook that is a change of pace from your typical genre, give this book a try.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Benton, AR, USA 05-15-09
    Bob Benton, AR, USA 05-15-09 Member Since 2001
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    "Kept me enthralled for a 13 hour car ride"

    Well written, filled with fascinating statistics and information. I was hooked the entire time. This is the rare audiobook I will listen to twice, then buy the hard copy. I'm thinking seriously about requiring my kids to read it before they begin driving.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Hibbetts All over the United States 04-09-09
    Tim Hibbetts All over the United States 04-09-09 Listener Since 2005
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    "Fascinating"

    This is a book about human nature wrapped in the bacon strips of purposeful motion. You do need to be interested in how and why things work, but if you are, this book is chock full of delicious tidbits that make you really want to send it to your local DoT. Regardless, there are a multitude of those moments when you either see yourself or someone you know (or if you're listening on the road, someone you're watching). This book should be mandatory reading in every drivers' ed class.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Varley 11-18-08 Listener Since 2008
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    "Interesting Read"

    This book does have a lot of statistics but it organizes them around certain themes to make them more comprehensible. I found it very interesting. It made me look at driving differently. Hopefully it made me a better driver. Certainty a better educated one. I thought the narration was very good.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter WASHINGTON, DC, United States 08-21-12
    Peter WASHINGTON, DC, United States 08-21-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Fascinating"
    What did you love best about Traffic?

    This book drew my attention to all sorts of aspects of traffic that I had never thought of: most dangerous moves at an intersection, when to merge, why straight roads should have some curves, etc.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Vanderbilt does a great job of tying together a bunch of distinct studies and aspects of traffic. Also, Vanderbilt does a great job of defining technical terms so the reader can keep up with the engineering.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator is easy to understand, and is easy to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    phillip Elmhurst, IL, United States 04-26-13
    phillip Elmhurst, IL, United States 04-26-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I expected."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The title led me to think it would discuss how our driving habits reflect our personalities. That would do it.


    What was most disappointing about Tom Vanderbilt’s story?

    Instead of telling the reader why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us),It's just a recitation of statistics and studies, without any real connecting thread. Uninspired and dull. Here's a summary that will save potential readers a credit: Your perceptions are not as accurate as you think they are and we are all really bad drivers. There, now go buy a different book.

    I found myself skipping chapters based on the titles. One chapter described Delhi's traffic as being really crazy. No revelation there.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Pronounce the letter "L" clearly.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Traffic?

    Everything but the first and last chapters.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raymond R North Ridgeville, OH 01-14-13
    Raymond R North Ridgeville, OH 01-14-13 Member Since 2010
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    "great listen with good narraration"
    What made the experience of listening to Traffic the most enjoyable?

    this is one of those books where you expect to know a lot of the answers ahead of time and then the author delivers a lot of information that you didn't realize you cared about until he says it.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    lots of examples that are research driven.


    What about Marc Cashman’s performance did you like?

    Marc Cashman does an excellent job, i never got bored with his narration style and look forward to more books with his narration.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes, it was very captivating and much more interesting than i was anticipating. i listened to it as a recommendation from a friend and it exceeded my expectations.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 03-27-12
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 03-27-12 Member Since 2009

    Addicted to Audible since 2009

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just Okay"

    I was really excited about this listen but to my disappointment this book did not live up the expectations. With that said, while it didn't wow me, it was good and there were several interesting points that I did take out of it. Not bad but nothing special either.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
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