Tag Archives: traffic

Traffic Congestion

As long there’s no crash that is backing up traffic on 43-N heading out of Milwaukee, I’ll typically take it back to my apartment. If there is substantial traffic, then I tend to take Lake Dr north along Lake Michigan. That is a really scenic drive with a number of really cool houses.

Even when traffic is flowing well there almost always is a temporary backup at the Silver Spring/ Bayshore Mall exit. This Is likely due to the Silver Spring traffic entering right where the interstate is going from three to two lanes. However, I think a big contributor to the slow down are the idiots who feel they can drive in the lane that is ending (which they know because of all the signs) and then cut in right at the last second. This forces everyone else to brake and allow them to cut in.

The offenders tend to drive expensive cars and, I’m assuming, feel otherwise privileged because their time is so much more valuable than the rest of us. I tend to forgive some people that cut in at the last second because they may be from out-of-town or the lane-ending sign may come up quickly. But in the case above, the sign occurs plenty early. I’ve even seen people try and use the ending lane to pass a few cars and then cut back in.

It would make me feel really good if all the sign abiding folks just didn’t allow these other drivers back in (done safely, of course). Make ‘um hang out on the side of the road for awhile until they get the idea.

There is some research that may back up my traffic congestion theory: Traffic Jam Mystery Solved By Mathematicians

Shockwave traffic jam

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 traffic.

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.

Shockwave traffic jam recreated for first time