Books on Traffic & Driving

From traffic jams to road rage, these nonfiction books take a look at how we drive and why.

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do
By Tom Vanderbilt
In this lively and eye-opening investigation, Tom Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety, and even identifies the most common mistake drivers make in parking lots. Traffic is about more than driving: it's about human nature.

Mobility without Mayhem book jacket

Mobility without Mayhem: Safety, Cars, and Citizenship
By Jeremy Packer
Mobility without Mayhem is a lively cultural history of America's fear of and fascination with driving, from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Jeremy Packer analyzes how driving has been understood by experts, imagined by citizens, regulated by traffic laws, governed through education and propaganda, and represented in films, television, magazines, and newspapers.

Still Stuck In Traffic: Coping With Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion
By Anthony Downs
This book seeks to explore why traffic congestion has arisen in our society, why it is getting more intensive, and why it cannot be eliminated entirely. It contains chapters on the fundamental causes of congestion, and argues that many traffic problems are rooted in a lack of regional cooperation among localities.

Terror on the Highway: Rage on America's Roads
By Paul Eberle
Eberle documents cases of extreme road rage in this shocking look at the havoc caused by angry people in their cars.

Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age
By Brian Ladd
For Ladd, the work of Autophobia is precisely about looking again at what has been said, by whom and for what reason, and why none of the voluminous critiques of the car—by any number of estimable figures—seem to have much mattered.

Other books by Tom Vanderbilt

Survival City book jacket

Survival City: Adventures among the Ruins of Atomic America 
By Tom Vanderbilt
Tom Vanderbilt travels the Interstate (itself a product of the Cold War) to uncover the sites of Cold War architecture and reflect on their lasting heritage. In the process, Vanderbilt shows us what the Cold War landscape looked like, how architecture tried to adapt to the threat of mass destruction, how cities coped with the knowledge that they were nuclear targets, and finally what remains of the Cold War theater today, both its visible and invisible legacies.

The Sneaker Book: Anatomy of an Industry and an Icon
By Tom Vanderbilt
Supplemented by charts, statistics, and graphics, this book documents the costs and profits of the $11 billion-a-year business of America's #1 shoe style on every level, putting the numbers on the table and taking a fresh look at familiar, if unexamined, footwear.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.