You will never understand traffic until you listen to Ben Hamilton Baillie, a student of the late Hans Monderman, father of the woonerf / naked street movement. He lives and observes the real world and treats people like people. Magically everything gets better, safer, and more vibrant. Watch the video.
ABWxD '10 - Ben Hamilton-Baillie from ABetterWorldByDesign on Vimeo.
The following is a twitpic I snapped of his presentation on Friday in Buffalo. It's also discussed in the video above, but if you only have 2 minutes examine the fundamental and antithetical requirements between highways and public space. They can not co-exist which is why smart cities, sane cities restrict highways to the exterior of cities rather than making both highways and public spaces lesser at what they do.