Extended Audio Sample

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

Extended Audio Sample Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) Audiobook, by Tom Vanderbilt Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.93 out of 53.93 out of 53.93 out of 53.93 out of 53.93 out of 5 3.93 (30 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Vanderbilt Narrator: Marc Cashman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2008 ISBN: 9781415956090
Regular Price: $22.50 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $18.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

Driving is a fact of life. We are all spending more and more time on the road, and traffic is an issue we face everyday. This audiobook will make you think about it in a whole new light.

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.

Download and start listening now!

BK_BKOT_001095

Quotes & Awards

  • An engrossing tour through the neuroscience of highway illusions, the psychology of late merging, and other existential driving dilemmas. Michael Mason, Discover

    “Funny . . . Enlightening . . . Want to spend 286 pages having a good time and learning a whole lot about something you do every day for an hour or two? Buy this book.
  • I’m very glad I read this book . . . It tells you a lot about traffic. But of course it does more than this. It’s really a book about human nature. William Leith, Evening Standard (UK)
  • A richly extended metaphor for the challenge of organising competing human needs and imperfect human judgment into harmonious coexistence. Rafael Behr, The Guardian (UK)
  • “Brisk . . . Smart . . . Delivers a wealth of automotive insights both curious and counterintuitive. Details
  • A literate, sobering look at our roadways that explains why the other lane is moving faster and why you should never drive at 1 p.m. on Saturday. GQ
  • An engaging, informative, psychologically savvy account of the conscious and unconscious assumptions of individual drivers–and the variations in ‘car culture’ around the world . . . Full of fascinating facts and provocative propositions. Glenn Altschuler, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Traffic gets about as close to the heart of modern existence as any book could get . . . Engagingly written, meticulously researched, endlessly interesting and informative, [it] is one of those rare books that comes out of the depths of nowhere. Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World
  • A surprising, enlightening look at the psychology of human beings behind the steering wheels . . . Jammed with delicious you’ve-got-to-be-kidding moments . . . My solution to the nation’s vehicular woes would be to make this good book required reading for anyone applying for a driver’s license. Mary Roach, The New York Times Book Review
  • Smart and comprehensive . . . A shrewd tour of the much-experienced but little-understood world of driving . . . A balanced and instructive discussion on how to improve our policies toward the inexorable car . . . Vanderbilt’s book is likely to remain relevant well into the new century. Edward L. Glaeser, The New Republic
  • A delightful tour through the mysteries and manners of driving. Tony Dokoupil, Newsweek
  • A breezy . . . well-researched . . . examination of the strange interaction of humanity and multiton metal boxes that can roar along at . . . 60 m.p.h. or sit for hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune
  • Traffic will definitely change the way you think about driving, which also means changing the way you think about being human. Michael Agger, Slate
  • [A] joyride in the often surprising landscape of traffic science and psychology. Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian Magazine
  • Tom Vanderbilt is one of our best and most interesting writers, with an extraordinary knack for looking at everyday life and explaining, in wonderful and entertaining detail, how it really works. That's never been more true than with Traffic, where he takes a subject that we all deal with (and worry about), and lets us see it through new eyes. In the process, he helps us understand better not just the highway, but the world. It doesn't matter whether you drive or take the bus--you're going to want to read this book. James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds
  • A great, deep, multidisciplinary investigation of the dynamics and the psychology of traffic jams. It is fun to read. Anyone who spends more than 19 minutes a day in traffic should read this book. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author The Black Swan
  • Fascinating, illuminating, and endlessly entertaining as well. Vanderbilt shows how a sophisticated understanding of human behavior can illuminate one of the modern world's most basic and most mysterious endeavors. You'll learn a lot; and the life you save may be your own. Cass R. Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
  • Everyone who drives--and many people who don't--should read this book. It is a psychology book, a popular science book, and a how-to-save-your-life manual, all rolled into one. I found it gripping and fascinating from the very beginning to the very end. Tyler Cowen, author of Discover Your Inner Economist
  • Fascinating, surprising . . . Vanderbilt’s book will be a revelation not just to us drivers but also, one might guess, to our policy makers. Alan Moores, The Seattle Times
  • A well-written, important book that should hold the interest of anyone who drives a car. Dennis Lythgoe, Deseret News
  • An engaging, sociable tour of all things driving-related. Joel Rice, The Tennessean
  • Manages to be downright fun. Dennis Simanaitis, Road and Track
  • Traffic changes the way you think about driving. For that reason alone, it deserves your attention. Dan Danbom, Rocky Mountain News
  • Intriguing . . . Somehow manages to plunge far more deeply than one would imagine a meditation on travel possibly could. Perhaps without intending to, Vanderbilt has narrowed in on the central question of our time . . . His book asks us to consider how we can persuade human beings to behave more cooperatively than selfishly. Elaine Margolin, The Denver Post
  • Vanderbilt investigates . . . complexities with zeal. Surprising details abound. The New Yorker
  • Fresh and timely . . . Vanderbilt investigates how human nature has shaped traffic, and vice versa, finally answering drivers' most familiar and frustrating questions. Publishers Weekly
  • Fluently written and oddly entertaining, full of points to ponder while stuck at the on-ramp meter or an endless red light. Kirkus
  • "This may be the most insightful and comprehensive study ever done of driving behavior and how it reveals truths about the types of people we are. Booklist
  • Tom Vanderbilt uncovers a raft of counterintuitive facts about what happens when we get behind the wheel, and why. BusinessWeek 
  • Fascinating . . . Could not come at a better time. Library Journal
  • Automobile traffic is one of the most studied phenomena in advanced societies . . . Mr. Vanderbilt has mastered all of it. Arresting facts appear on every page. Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times (UK)

  • One of the 2008 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan Lundy | 2/20/2014

    " Like earlier reviewers, I started this book very favorably predisposed to enjoy it. Unfortunately it covered every little new information, was somewhat dry, and needed better documentation of the research. On the positive side the author really enjoyed the topic and the enthusiasm did come through, and the writing made the book flow smoothly and quickly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lora | 2/17/2014

    " Eminently readable, full of fun research...and yet I didn't finish it. My brain is not in non-fiction mode right now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Baker | 2/16/2014

    " An excellent and interesting read for geeks. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie | 1/15/2014

    " I listened to this book on CD, and when I got to the end (5 discs) I realized that I'd been listening to an abridged version. Bummer - it was always interesting, and I would have liked more of his insights and factoids. The science of figuring out traffic ad risk is fascinating, "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Scott | 12/30/2013

    " Not much insight and not presented in a very interesting manner. Mah, some good basic information but barely worth the time. Ironically, I listened to this audiobook during my 1 hour one-way commute, but never stuck in traffic because I was in the carpool lane in my Prius hybrid with HOV stickers. The book barely mentions carpool lanes and hybrid/EV options... sigh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Icefishcat | 12/26/2013

    " If you read this, you may never want to drive again, but you will be smarter than anybody else driving "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrice | 12/3/2013

    " I wouldn't have thought I'd enjoy a book on the study of traffic patterns.... I can't say that I'm a better driver as a result of this book, but I'm certainly more aware of my surroundings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 9/27/2013

    " Lively and entertaining look at what goes on (or fails to go on) in a driver's mind, on what we perceive (or don't perceive) as we drive, and on traffic engineering. Turn off that cell phone! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frances | 9/22/2013

    " Some great points about all the research that has been done. I hope I will be wise enough to put some of these ideas to use. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sam | 7/31/2013

    " Diverting for the Freakonomics / Malcolm Gladwell-reading layman and a must-read for city planners etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 7/12/2013

    " Now I know why other drivers scare me !!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Bartlett | 6/30/2013

    " Packed full of helpful insights. I love this book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate McCarthy | 6/17/2013

    " Great overview of transportation issues related to car culture and dependency, exploring the issues and examining the debates. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan Getrum | 12/21/2012

    " Interesting (if a bit dry at times). Bottom line: Everything you do to get ahead in traffic makes traffic worse for everyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 11/8/2012

    " This is a fine book, especially for when you want to read but can't concentrate very hard; but it would work just as well (and be a lot shorter) if it were just a list of the various factoids described. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 10/26/2012

    " A very interesting read. The safer the cars the more risks we take. The safer the road the more risks we take. W may know this but don't act on it. A timely book to read and reflect on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bryan | 6/19/2011

    " The writing is dense with study results, but there's plenty of aha moments as the author disects so many common traffic scenarios and how we typically respond to them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danielle | 5/15/2011

    " Such a fun book. It takes an ordinary action we all take for granted and explains, in an entertaining way, the ways we are our true selves in traffic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 5/12/2011

    " At face value, you expect a book like this to be boring, stuffy, and bog you down with details. Instead, it's a fun read that keeps you hooked as you find out about our collective driving habits. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie | 5/6/2011

    " I listened to this book on CD, and when I got to the end (5 discs) I realized that I'd been listening to an abridged version. Bummer - it was always interesting, and I would have liked more of his insights and factoids. The science of figuring out traffic ad risk is fascinating, "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 5/3/2011

    " This book changed the way I drive. It was fascinating on so many levels. I highly recommend it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexa | 4/25/2011

    " So interesting and informative, but it left me with even more questions. I would read 200 more pages of this book, if they existed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexa | 4/25/2011

    " So interesting and informative, but it left me with even more questions. I would read 200 more pages of this book, if they existed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbycoleman | 4/25/2011

    " VERY interesting book. Definately recommend it to anyone and everyone who has a driver's license. Give's insight into the thought process and decision-making that happens while driving/parking/merging and much more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerem | 4/25/2011

    " Very interesting book with many facts people are either not aware or ignorant of. Nice comparisons between different countries, their cultures and how it affects traffic. A fun and easy read as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Du | 4/12/2011

    " Interesting read. Fun to read comments from someone that you have thought yourself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charity | 4/11/2011

    " A thinker. I find myself reflecting on this or bringing it up in conversations totally unrelated to traffic because it applies. There is a surprising amount to learn about human behavior/psychology from watching traffic patterns. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig | 4/5/2011

    " Fascinating and very in depth book. Gets pretty technical and was sometimes challenging to plow through, even for someone who works in this field. But very insightful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 4/3/2011

    " If you want to know why you drive the way your drive its a good read. Lots of fun tidbits and an easy read. Anyone who likes books like Blink should enjoy this one as well "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yuri | 3/31/2011

    " A fascinating read about how and why we drive. Everybody who has ever been stuck in traffic should read this book. It should be a MUST READ for all traffic engineers, urban planners and city councillors. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Tom Vanderbilt writes about design, technology, science and culture for Wired, Slate, the New York Times, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn.

About the Narrator

Marc Cashman is a three-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for audiobook narration. His voice has also been heard locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally on radio, television, film, documentaries, radio plays, and video games.