Sunday, March 16, 2008

Scientists Discover the Elusive "Traffic Jam"

Something to ponder the next time you're stuck in horrible horrible traffic.

Even more fun is this collection of Java applets that lets you simulate a wide variety of traffic situations. My favorite is #3, where one lane is closed, and you can see that the system is very sensitive to small changes in inflow and speed limit. Which, sadly, seems to imply that there is no 'magic highway design' that would eliminate traffic jams in most situations. Anyway, its a fascinating waste of a few hours.

(via Gristmill.)

3 comments:

Rob Monroe said...

Incredibly fascinating! Thanks for sharing. Kind of makes me wish that 495 was straighter!

Tim said...

Rob - yep, the beltway is a mess (especially the mixing bowl and other fun spots), but I guess you can't really avoid curved roads, construction repairs, accidents, etc. etc.

Eugene said...

That's pretty cool!