Experiment recreates field observation


From New Scientist Shockwave traffic jam recreated for first time.

Yes, when a car taps its brake and a road is at capacity, shockwaves ensue. Yes not all drivers are identical, and yes some drivers are random. Candidate for Ignobel prize?

In real life, we don't drive on circular test tracks, and there are gaps, allowing traffic to eventually recover. One could have looked at race cars for a similar experiment.


I read of this "breakthrough" a couple of months ago I think, and I was amazed that the researchers considered this to be news! I know of similar research in Toronto in the late 80's that showed this shockwave effect in congested expressway traffic. Unless there is something more to this that I haven't read yet, it just isn't new.

Something related, also read a few months ago (Subcritical Hopf bifurcations in a car-following model with reaction-time delay). The videos of the simulation are here.

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on March 6, 2008 7:44 AM.

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