[NetBehaviour] Shockwave traffic jam recreated for first time.
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Mar 5 17:00:20 CET 2008
Shockwave traffic jam recreated for first time.
NewScientist - Max Glaskin.
Traffic that grinds to a halt and then restarts for no apparent reason
is one of the biggest causes of frustration for drivers. Now a team of
Japanese researchers has recreated the phenomenon on a test-track for
the first time.
The mathematical theory behind these so-called "shockwave" jams was
developed more than 15 years ago using models that show jams appear from
nowhere on roads carrying their maximum capacity of free-flowing traffic
– typically triggered by a single driver slowing down.
After that first vehicle brakes, the driver behind must also slow, and a
shockwave jam of bunching cars appears, travelling backwards through the
The theory has frequently been modelled in computer simulations, and
seems to fit with observations of real traffic, but has never been
recreated experimentally until now.
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