Why Traffic Jams Happen

In: Science Source: Ritholtz

7 Mar 2011

I hate traffic. Nothing makes me hate humanity more (except perhaps watching commercials – thank god for DVRs).  If you want to know more about why we drive the way we do, read Tom Vanderbilt’s Traffic (which, somewhat strangely, includes no diagrams). (via Ritholtz)


Here’s a life-scale experiment that illustrates the shockwave effect:

4 Responses to Why Traffic Jams Happen



March 8th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I always wondered if random braking was the cause of traffic jams…


DIY mom

March 8th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I thought I remember in Driver’s Ed class they told us to make sure to break so others behind us would also know that a danger is coming up and so no one would rear end you. But it looks like it’s also contributing to traffic jams.

I saw this theory yesterday and thought about it as I was heading towards Chicago. Luckily I wasn’t on the road during rush hour.



March 9th, 2011 at 11:06 am

I always hate traffic!



July 4th, 2011 at 12:20 am

Glad to see SF over there; but I’m surprised LA is nowhere in the top 10.

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