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posted by Fnord666 on Friday December 15 2017, @07:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the automate-that-already dept.

Gotta keep 'em separated:

When unexplained traffic jams happen, says an MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) study, you can probably blame tailgaters. The researchers say that if drivers kept an even distance between cars rather than driving too close to the vehicle in front, traffic flow would remain even. This "bilateral control," could double the speed of the average vehicle on busy highways.
This ideal is very different from what is the norm in most thinking about traffic, especially by those stuck in it. Drivers (and, consequently, vehicle control systems) tend to be looking ever forward, responding only to what's ahead and largely ignoring what's behind. Thus, in stop-and-go or slow-and-go situations (traffic jams), each vehicle reacts to the vehicle in front, causing intermittent slowdowns or stops (jams) in wave-like patterns. When vehicles are working to maintain equal distances both from the car in front and the vehicle behind, the MIT paper contends, these wave patterns are minimized and traffic flows more smoothly.

Maintaining even spacing facilitates lane changes and merges as well.

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  • (Score: 1) by ElizabethGreene on Saturday December 16 2017, @09:44PM (1 child)

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Saturday December 16 2017, @09:44PM (#610797)

    If you drive like this, in such a way as to remove standing waves, never tell anyone. People have a bucket they store road rage, and when you mention driving slower than the cars in front of you a portion of those people lose their minds and dump that rage bucket all over you.

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Sunday December 17 2017, @02:47PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 17 2017, @02:47PM (#610981) Journal

    That is true, but it's interesting to persist in maintaining safe distance, smoothing out jams, and watch it spread to the cars around you. Initially there are a couple hotheads who want to weave through the lanes, but they quickly get stuck and notice everyone else around them is moving better with less stress. You can almost see the lightbulbs going on in their heads.

    It's a fun little experiment I recommend to others here. Its power to lower your own traffic stress makes it worth doing, regardless.

    Washington DC delenda est.