Progressive Wave
Light, Sound and Waves

Traffic waves

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

Researchers have modelled flowing traffic as analogous to a fluid and have applied wave equations to predict the behaviour of cars in heavy traffic. The wave-equation models suggest that jams can occur spontaneously in homogeneous traffic flow, if the density of vehicles exceeds a particular value. Traffic can be modelled as existing in a number of states, for example free flowing and traffic jams, with phase transitions occurring between the states.

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