Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Gridlock: Why We're Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It
Your Garage Summer Reading Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it $5 Albums Explore Premium Audio Fire TV Stick Sun Care Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Segway miniPro

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars10
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:$18.71+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on November 11, 2011
As a Civil Engineer trainee with a master's degree, one of my interests is in transportation policy and how some proposed projects will (or will not) solve the problems that are facing us. I stumbled upon this book while reading about a proposed high-speed rail system in my home state, and finding many flaws in the plan.

I've been reading this book, "Gridlock: Why We're Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It", and it has offered a fresh perspective on transportation issues. The book explores many topics in transportation, including some history on transportation; some thoughts on mass transit and high-speed rail; environmental impact of different kinds of transportation; the economical and financial aspects of transportation improvements; and even on driverless cars. One of the most interesting facts I have learned from reading this book has been that the transportation improvement that has made the most positive impact on the environment has been to improve traffic signal coordination. It also turns out that mass transit really isn't that environmentally friendly compared to driving. For example, Florida's high-speed rail system (which has now been killed and re-killed) would have used up to 6 times as much energy as the cars they would have replaced!

Some may criticize this book as "agenda-driven misinformation". That, it is not. It is a book grounded in the truth, and the conclusions that O'Toole makes follow well from his assertions. Like any good researcher, he cites his sources for all of his statements and assertions. I have personally checked many of his references myself and have found them to be reliable.

I believe that this book ought to be required reading for all transportation professionals, whether they be at the university, working in the public sector (state DOT, etc.) or in the private sector (consulting). I believe in the freedom of movement, and after you read this book you may find as I have that we can (and should!) find creative ways to be better stewards of our energy, environmental, and economic resources while still preserving and enhancing this very important freedom.
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 20, 2010
O'Toole claims that our cars are practically computer controlled anyway so why not use those computers to maintain a system of driverless cars that will eliminate gridlock by ostensibly eliminating the subjective elements of individual driver control. Sounds like a great idea, one which I recall Walter Cronkite's "21st Century" touting twenty years ago. There is lot to this book including important ideas about how government subsidizes a mass transit policy that actually encourages rather than eliminates gridlock. But I wanted to simply mention that one of the main criticisms - how would you phase in such a system when it takes twenty to thirty years to turnover the existing automobile inventory - could in my view be easily accomplished either by dividing the existing road network into driver and driverless similar to HOV lanes and/or having the cars be built with dual mode systems (e.g. autopilot). In any case well worth the read.
11 comment|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 2, 2016
I've read plenty of Randal O'Tooles transportation policy position and as a libertarian, he's a total hippocrite. Everything around the car is subsidized. Oil, roads, and parking, yet he has a problem when transit is subsidized at all let alone at similar levels.

He also has the same stale position as transportation policy 60 years ago. Build more roads. Guess what? That doesn't alleviate congestion. My case in point is the Katy Freeway in Houston. It use to be 8 lanes wide but in 2008 or so, it was widened to 23 making it the widest highway in the world. Congestion is far worse now then it's ever been. Google "Katy freeway" and "widen" and articles will come up. 2.3 billion dollars for that monstrosity.

This book is propaganda. He's no libertarian.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 23, 2011
O'Toole does a great job of composing an excellent book on the modern challenges of transportation policies, funding, congestion, and mass transit. A must read for anyone interested in transportation issues.

The book made me confront a few soft and hard biases on the effectiveness and efficiency of certain transportation methods.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 23, 2011
O'Toole does a great job of composing an excellent book on the modern challenges of transportation policies, funding, congestion, and mass transit. A must read for anyone interested in transportation issues.

The book made me confront a few soft and hard biases on the effectiveness and efficiency of certain transportation methods.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 10, 2010
O'Toole covers a lot of ground in this excellent summary of U.S. transportation policy. When I complain about the subsidies to bus service and passenger rail most folks just dismiss the complaint with `Heck we subsidize roads and air traffic too." Well, once you compare the numbers on a per-passenger-mile basis it is apparent that user fees cover almost all of the auto and commercial airline costs while the general taxpayer gets hit with most of the cost of transit and rail.

Much of his data is from sources that are difficult to convert into a common basis for comparison. For example transit. This is usually reported as passenger-trips while auto travel is usually reported in passenger-miles. Putting them on a common basis means finding and applying the relevant surveys and putting both on a passenger-mile basis. When he does, it is apparent that the subsidies for transit are outrageous. Transit should be replaced by jitneys in all but our most dense cities.

When Anchorage decided to drop it's two worst performing bus routes it saved a $5.30 subsidy for each and every rider, and that was excluding capital costs.

"Light" rail is even worse as a city transportation alternative. It probably makes sense only in New York City. Never the less, our federal government and a many cities are busy wasting billions of dollars on the least effective and most inflexible form of urban transportation available.

O'Toole does an excellent job of emphasizing the economic benefit to both the individual and the country when mobility is improved. Take an increase in the average tolerable commute distance from 8 miles to 16 miles. This may well make 4 times as many jobs available to the commuter, and 4 times as many prospective employees available to the employer. O'Toole tracks the improvements in mobility, and income through U.S. history and shows a excellent general correlation.

My vote for the chapter to skip would be "The Road to Green." Here he discusses the advantages that an ever-improving auto has over the other transportation forms. He researched this well, but CO2 emissions have become a non-issue. CO2s connection to global warming, always shaky, may never recover from the scientific fraud recently uncovered. Better science suggests may enter an era in which more CO2 is desired for the atmosphere.

His chapter on the driverless car is excellent and a good introduction to the topic. This has reached the mainstream news with the public announcement that a driverless car created by Stanford University researchers would attempt Pikes Peak at the limits of the car's handling envelope in the fall of 2010.

His comments on federal, state and local policy in the last 3 chapters should be read by every legislator as well as the general public.

One thing that is not accounted for and would make the transit and rail cases even worse is that an auto trip can go fairly directly from point A to point B. If you take the bus, you walk a short way, ride often to B by way of C, D, E and F and then walk the rest of the way. It gets really bad if you have to go though a hub and get a transfer. I suspect that often the bus passenger has to make a 10 mile trip to get to a destination 6 miles from his home by auto. He also may have to wait through a number of intermediate stops that make his trip even slower.

O'Toole has obviously put a lot of work into this volume. I definitely appreciate the information.
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 1, 2014
Good reading, full of information.
I used to think rails were always a good solution to move people around.
Not any more...
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 13, 2015
Excellent book. Well researched. Sheds a light on all the wrong solutions to the traffic problem.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 13, 2010
GRIDLOCK: WHY WE'RE STUCK IN TRAFFIC AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT analyzes the common urban problem of traffic congestion and makes a case for reducing congestion by improving methods of transportation that will increase everyone's mobility and pay for themselves. A range of ideas and policy recommendations on how to change the transportation system makes this a powerful pick for any college-level library strong in urban transport challenges.
0Comment|4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 17, 2010
Rather than an honest look at transportation options and congestion problems, Mr. O'Toole put forth another libertarian propaganda piece and erects a flimsy wall of statistics to back up his forgone conculsions.
33 comments|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse