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

Author: Tom Vanderbilt
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by sowbug   2019-07-12
Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) contains the same conclusion that late merging leads to less congestion because of fuller utilization of available lanes. Related reasoning supports the London Underground's Holborn Station experiment to encourage escalator users to stand on both sides, rather than the customary stand-to-the-right, walk-to-the-left.

by crazygringo   2018-09-28
This is fascinating. The book Traffic [1] talks a great deal about how adding road capacity (e.g. more lanes) can result in zero change in congestion because more people choose to take more trips.

But this paradox appears to hold traffic constant, and uses game theory to show how more connections (not lanes) can result in worse congestion too.

It really is amazing how something as simple-seeming as roads and traffic, where it feels like simple common sense ought to apply, winds up being so deeply and fundamentally counter-intuitive.


by JoeDaDude   2017-09-18
So, which was the traffic simulator you worked on? I've always been fascinated by traffic and traffic modelling, read books [1], seen articles where they use cellular automata, psychology, discrete events, etc etc.


by clarkmoody   2017-08-19
I read about a study in the book Traffic[1] that seems to negate this view, for buses at least. The findings were as follows:

1. More people use buses along a certain stretch of road.

2. Said stretch of road sees less congestion. Bus riders save time!

3. Noticing that this road has less congestion, more drivers take this route.

4. Route becomes congested due to increased interest.

5. Buses take just as long as cars to get to destination.

6. Bus riders migrate back to cars due to lost advantage of bus.

7. Road is more congested than before.

Overall, Traffic is a fantastic read and really opened my eyes.


by elif   2017-08-19
I'm not sure I'm understanding your position very well. Are you saying that people exiting the slow lanes to enter the "moving lane" constitutes a hazard, and by punishing those actors by not letting them in, you are minimizing that hazard? If so, i'm inclined to agree philosophically.

However, I don't believe anyone should impose their philosophy with 2 tons of steel.

RE: traffic science, here are some references

by chalmerj   2017-08-19
There's an interesting book on the topic, focusing on the way human behavior affects traffic patterns. It's similar to other behavioral anthropology books like Dan Ariely's 'Predictably Irrational'.

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