Y'know when you're driving down a busy highway, and then you just seem to come to a halt, for no apparent reason. And then, 15 minutes of wasted time (and gas) later, things clear up with absolutely no indication of what the problem could've been. Well...that mystery has been solved!
It took a team of mathematicians from all over Europe to figure it out...but figure it out they did. It turns out that occasionally a driver will overreact to some trivial event, say a new car in their lane. And that excessive breaking effects a long line of drivers who, in succession, slowly react more and more dramatically until, finally, sometimes several minutes later and miles behind the original incident, traffic completely grinds to a halt.
The solution? Uh....better drivers?
That sounds like a bit too much to hope for to me. We could tell everyone to pay more attention and to not overreact...but having seen my share of drivers in this world, I don't suspect that's going to work. The only real solution, now that we know the problem, looks to be more automated driving or even completely automated driving. Though that doesn't sound particularly appealing to me either.
A better solution? How about effective mass transportation?
written by Jono, December 20, 2007
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