Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stop-And-Go Traffic: An Accident? Construction Work? No, Just Too Much Traffic

Date:
March 5, 2008
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
A new study from a Japanese research group explains why we're occasionally caught in traffic jams for no visible reason. The real origin of traffic jams often has nothing to do with obvious obstructions such as accidents or construction work but is simply the result of there being too many cars on the road.

Researchers used a circular track with a circumference of 230m. They put 22 cars on the road and asked the drivers to go steadily at 30km/h around the track. While the flow was initially free, the effect of a driver altering his speed reverberated around the track and led to brief standstills.
Credit: Image courtesy of Institute of Physics

A new study from a Japanese research group explains why we're occasionally caught in traffic jams for no visible reason. The real origin of traffic jams often has nothing to do with obvious obstructions such as accidents or construction work but is simply the result of there being too many cars on the road.

Related Articles


The research, published March 4 in the New Journal of Physics, shows how model patterns, normally used to understand the movement of many-particle systems, have been applied to real-life moving traffic. The research shows that even tiny fluctuations in car-road density cause a chain reaction which can lead to a jam.

The research found that tiny fluctuations in speed, always existing when drivers want to keep appropriate headway space, have a cumulative effect. Once traffic reaches a critical density, the cumulative effect of gentle braking rushes back over drivers like a wave and leads to a standstill.

The researchers in Japan used a circular track with a circumference of 230m. They put 22 cars on the road and asked the drivers to go steadily at 30km/h around the track. While the flow was initially free, the effect of a driver altering his speed reverberated around the track and led to brief standstills.

Yuki Sugiyama, physicist from Nagoya University, said, "Although the emerging jam in our experiment is small, its behaviour is not different from large ones on highways. When a large number of vehicles, beyond the road capacity, are successively injected into the road, the density exceeds the critical value and the free flow state becomes unstable."

The researchers will be advancing their research by using larger roads and more vehicles to further test their findings.

The research suggests that it might be possible to estimate critical density of roads, making it possible to build roads fit for the number of drivers needing use of it or, on for example toll roads, only allowing the right number of cars access to the road to stop mid-flow traffic jams.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Stop-And-Go Traffic: An Accident? Construction Work? No, Just Too Much Traffic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304075707.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2008, March 5). Stop-And-Go Traffic: An Accident? Construction Work? No, Just Too Much Traffic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304075707.htm
Institute of Physics. "Stop-And-Go Traffic: An Accident? Construction Work? No, Just Too Much Traffic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304075707.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Doctors Often Give In To Vaccine-Wary Parents

Doctors Often Give In To Vaccine-Wary Parents

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) A new survey published in the journal Pediatrics found many doctors are giving in to parents&apos; requests to delay vaccinating their children. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Who Survived Ebola Virus to File Lawsuit

Nurse Who Survived Ebola Virus to File Lawsuit

AP (Mar. 2, 2015) A lawyer for Nina Pham, the 26-year old nurse who survived after contracted the Ebola virus, says the young woman&apos;s &apos;life has changed forever. &apos; Pham is preparing to file a lawsuit against Texas Health Resources for negligence. (March 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mobile World Looks to 5G

Mobile World Looks to 5G

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) The wireless industry&apos;s annual conference gets underway in Barcelona with 85,000 executives taking part and numerous new smartphones and watches being launched. As Ivor Bennett reports from the show the race for 5G is one of the key themes. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Texas Nurse Suing Hospital Where She Contracted Ebola

Texas Nurse Suing Hospital Where She Contracted Ebola

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) In an exclusive interview, The Dallas Morning News reports nurse Nina Pham is now suing Texas Health Presbyterian after contracting Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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