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A Fantastically Clear, Concise Explanation of Why Traffic Happens

Tom Vanderbilt on how human behavior makes congestion worse than it needs to be.
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Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic, gave a great 20-minute overview on the counterintuitive science of congestion at the Boing Boing: Ingenuity conference in San Francisco last month. Turns out a lot of the problems we ascribe to poor roads or other drivers are really our own fault. "[T]he individual driver cannot often understand the larger traffic system," says Vanderbilt.

The talk is worth a full watch — especially if you're parked in gridlock — but we've plucked out a few nuggets most relevant to metro area commuters.