I live in Los Angeles, and my daily commute subjects me to this city’s infamous traffic. So why in the world would I want to read a book about traffic? After all, I live it every day. Well, whether you live in a crowded city or a small town off the interstate, Traffic turns out to be an interesting, worthwhile look at humans and their machines, what happens on the road, and why. Vanderbilt explores this and other conventional wisdom of the road. He also looks at traffic from an engineering point of view. For instance, how much good do all those speed limit, Just really really really love stitch shirt, and warning signs actually do? What would happen in a busy, urban environment if we just took those signs away and let people figure things out for themselves? (It’s been tried and the results surprised me.) Have we collectively done the right thing by widening our roads, adding bike lanes, crosswalks, and protected turn arrows?
Traffic hooked me right off the bat with its provocative starting point: you’re on the freeway in the right-hand lane. A sign indicates that the lane is ending and you should merge left. Do you merge at the first safe opportunity and get mad at the drivers who keep Just really really really love stitch shirt past on the right until the last possible merge point? Or are you one of the drivers who wait until that endpoint, where you have to stop and wait for your turn to merge? Tom Vanderbilt used to be an early merger, but then he changed his ways. Once you read the facts behind his decision, maybe you’ll change your ways too.