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
mostly nonfiction listener
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The narrator is easy to understand, and is easy to listen to.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Traffic. it gave me a lot of perspective about how I drive and why others might be driving the way they do. An informative and fun read.
I had previously read this book when it came out and loved it. I wanted to revisit it the other day, but I'm not a huge reader. This was the perfect medium. Only gripe is the narrator's voice, it can be a bit monotone.
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