The Truth About Traffic

According to BusinessWeek we have been fed a line by traffic safety authorities (hardly surprising considering their mandate is to spend the money budgeted for them by the Nanny State).

In Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us)(Knopf, August, 2008), Tom Vanderbilt uncovers a raft of counterintuitive facts about what happens when we get behind the wheel, and why.

Most accidents, for example, don’t occur in bad weather but on sunny, dry days. And drivers get most stressed out by merging traffic.

Another discovery: Studies by engineers in the Netherlands show that traffic flow at busy intersections might ease and become statistically safer by removing all lights and warning signs, not adding more. Why? Instead of top-down controls telling people what to do, drivers will rely on their own judgment and risk assessment. In other words, bottom-up decision-making may make us better drivers.

In the same slide show New Zealand company Ponoko gets a mention for its innovative user generated manufacturing. (They recently set up a factory in the United States to make distribution easier - the perfect form for a kiwi design based/manufacturing business? Must come close.


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