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)

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

4 Responses to Why Traffic Jams Happen

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Daniel

March 8th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

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

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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.

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Krish

March 9th, 2011 at 11:06 am

I always hate traffic!

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rahul

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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