21 February 2009

Review of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) is about . . . well . . . traffic. This book has information and facts about what traffic is, what causes it, how different factors contribute to it, and what has been tried to reduce it. Unfortunately, the book reads like a mass grouping of magazine articles. It is choppy and repetitive. I found myself skimming large portions of statistics and facts (though you may find this useful if you plan to be on Jeopardy). I also had difficulty reading the book for extended periods of time. It was a good read in small doses.

The book was not all bad. I enjoyed reading Vanderbilt's human interest stories and anecdotes. For example, there is a portion about how LA gets all the limousines to the Oscars on time. There really are a bunch of men watching and controlling the traffic signals. It is also interesting that there is a direct correlation on the type of government a country has and how its people drive.

This could have been an excellent book if it had a good edit. It could say the same thing in half the pages and rearranging some parts would make it flow better. The book has not changed how I drive nor how I react to traffic. I now understand the reason for a mile back-up on the highway for one stalled car, but I am not more patient about it.

Overall rating - 6 out of 10

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1 comment:

  1. I drove through construction the other day and the road was narrow and rather scary. I remembered from the book that I was safer there than on the open road with wider shoulders. I said we should start driving faster through the construction zone but alas we stuck to our safe driving.