Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

If All Drivers Were Polite, They Would Get Where They're Going Faster

Date:
May 24, 2006
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
A new study from the University of Michigan found that traffic metering systems that incorporate new algorithms for merging could reduce the seriousness of traffic slowdowns that originate near freeway on-ramps.

A new study from the University of Michigan found that traffic metering systems that incorporate new algorithms for merging could reduce the seriousness of traffic slowdowns that originate near freeway on-ramps.

Craig Davis, a retired Ford Motor Co. research scientist and current adjunct professor at U-M, studied highway merging to see how current on-ramp traffic meter systems could be made more effective. Currently, meter systems try to improve traffic flow by letting a certain number of cars enter the highway each minute based on how many cars are already there. Traffic metering has been around for a long time and many large U.S. cities have metering systems, Davis says.

Davis says there are two basic types of traffic congestion: gridlock-type jams where cars stop; and the synchronous flow-type congestion, where two or more lanes of traffic all slow down to the same speed. Synchronous flow happens often near on-ramps, when cars don't give one another enough room to merge, or when too many cars are on the road.

Metering systems use computer algorithms to try to predict when a jam may occur, typically based on occupancy. Davis, however, based his algorithm on the throughput and the rate at which vehicles are merging, not on highway occupancy. He found that traffic jams happen when throughput exceeds about 1,900 cars per hour per lane, and after that capacity drops by 10 percent or more.

Davis says in the absence of metering systems, simple politeness would go a long way toward thinning the sludgy traffic near on-ramps. But, letting people merge is helpful only if you don't slow down too much to do so.

"If you can do it without slowing down very much, that allows the driver who's entering to enter at a higher speed," Davis said. "If they have to crawl along waiting for an opening, they slow down the other vehicles on the freeway."

If you can safely move over a lane and allow a vehicle merge, that is even better, he adds.

Davis has received much attention for his research on automatic cruise control, a separate but related area of traffic congestion research. With ACC, onboard computers keep the correct distance between cars. Such systems have been shown in computer simulations to reduce traffic jams in throughput lanes, but don't do much to lessen the problem that is caused by merging near on-ramps, he says.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "If All Drivers Were Polite, They Would Get Where They're Going Faster." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060524093736.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2006, May 24). If All Drivers Were Polite, They Would Get Where They're Going Faster. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060524093736.htm
University of Michigan. "If All Drivers Were Polite, They Would Get Where They're Going Faster." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060524093736.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Newsy (July 28, 2014) Stanford University published its findings for a "pure" lithium ion battery that could have our everyday devices and electric cars running longer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins