I’m reading an absolutely fascinating book called Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt, analyzing what makes traffic happen, and what’s happening in our brains when we try to drive.

You may be wondering how it is that humans can even do things like drive cars or fly planes, moving at speeds well beyond that ever experienced in our evolutionary history.  … The short answer is that we cheat.  We make the driving environment as simple as possible, with smooth, wide roads marked by enormous signs and white lines that are purposely placed far apart to trick us into thinking we are not moving as fast as we are.  It is a toddler’s view of the world, a landscape of outsized, brightly colored objects and flashing lights, with harnesses and safety barriers that protect us as we exceed our own underdeveloped capabilities.

It’s got bits of civil engineering, bits of psychology, and reams of experimental evidence that all make me wish I were back on a highway just to see it all in action.

I guess I’ll just settle for reading a book about mass transit while sitting comfortably on the train in the morning.