Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

A multi-lane road is 10% less efficient than a single-lane road

August 24, 2007

In a multi-lane highway, when different lanes are moving at different speeds, drivers are more likely to change lanes.

Lane changing causes drivers to be more cautious.

Greater caution results in lengthening the distance between themselves and other cars.

This causes more lane changing (since there’s more space between cars)

Here is a picture that shows how one thing leads to the next. Note the positive feedback loop, which results in lots of lane changing and increasing distance between cars:

Positive feedback increased distance between cars

Each lane on the highway ends up carrying 10% fewer vehicles than if it were a single-lane road.

— Extracted from The Wisdom of Crowds by James Suroweicki

Cars leaving the front of a traffic jam move more slowly than those entering the back of it

August 22, 2007

“Cars leaving the front of a traffic jam move more slowly than those entering the back of it.  That’s why as you watch a traffic jam on television, it moves backward up the highway.  And that’s why jams are not easily dispelled.”

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki