The first time I visited Pompeii, I was walking along one of its iconic paved streets when another visitor in front of me stumbled over a rough patch of pavement. Looking down resentfully, she turned to her friend and said in an irritated tone, ‘Look at this! They really need to do something about these roads…’. If that sore-toed tourist had found Eric Poehler's new book, The Traffic Systems of Pompeii, in the Pompeian gift shop, she would have been much illuminated. This long-gestated project represents an exciting new type of scholarship on the ancient world, using evidence gleaned from the scratched and rutted roads of Pompeii and other urban sites across the empire to expose both how ancient traffic worked and the constantly evolving negotiations between residents and government over its control.