The Psychology of Traffic – 3

I’ve posted twice now on the book, Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt. Here’s my third brief reflection, and it’s based on coming across several words/phrases with which I was unfamiliar:

  • “Traffic calming” – the practice of getting automobile drivers to reduce their speed (e.g., use of a speed bump);
  • “Gap acceptance” – finding a place for your car to fit when coming onto or leaving the highway where the on-ramp and off-ramp loops come together;
  • “Throughput maximization” – the “sweet spot in which the most vehicles can move at the highest speed thorugh a section of highway” [p. 122];
  • “Dilemma zone” – what engineers call “the moment when we’re too close to the amber light to stop and yet too far to make it through without catching some of the red phase” [p. 54];
  • “Shoupistas” – followers of Donald Shoup, an economist at UCLA and author of The High Cost of Free Parking;
  • “Pittsburgh left” – also practiced in Beijing the notorious “Beijing left”), it refers to the quick left after a red light and in front of oncoming traffic;
  • “SMIDSYs” – for “Sorry, Mate, I Didn’t See You” referring to the “failure to see” a motorcycle in England [p. 83];
  • “Los Gatos effect” – “Drivers seem reluctant to abandon the passing lane and join the lane of trucks chugging uphill, even when they are being pressured by other drivers, and even when the other lane is not crowded” [p. 120]

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