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  • There are four billion hours of travel delays in America each year, contributing to pollution,

  • fossil fuel waste and costing us all money; an estimated $87.2 billion dollars! Not to

  • mention traffic is just plain annoying! But is there a solution to your traffic woes?

  • Traffic is often due to construction, an accident, or bottlenecks created by on-ramps and tunnels.

  • But do you ever feel like congestion just seems to appear for no reason? You aren’t imagining

  • it! In a 2008 experiment, drivers were instructed to drive along a circular road, following

  • the car in front of them while trying to maintain a constant speed. As the participants drove,

  • they started to have fluctuations in the speed. These fluctuations increased, eventually causing

  • cars to stop completely, which broke the free flow and led to traffic jams without any added

  • factors. Researchers compare traffic jams to the particles in a liquid and a solid;

  • moving cars are like the free flowing particles in a liquid, but can undergo a ‘phase transition

  • to that of a compacted solid. Once the particles/cars reach a critical density, gridlock happens.

  • One of the key reasons gridlock happens is our inability to maintain a constant speed.

  • When a traffic break happens, most accelerate to catch up to the vehicle ahead, resulting

  • in eventual braking, that forces the drivers behind to slow down, only causing the jam to grow.

  • When youre in a traffic jam, youre part of the problem. Study showed that 80-90% of

  • drivers think theyre better than the average driver, which is... impossible. Additionally,

  • as humans, our attention is selective, and we tend to forget that other drivers are people

  • too - kind of like commenting online, we can dehumanize other drivers in ways we wouldn’t

  • face-to-face. This leads to jerks on the road - following too closely or constantly changing

  • lanes - which contributes directly to the congestion that creates traffic jams.

  • Thankfully, as the good driver you are, you can make a difference! Pay attention to the car ahead

  • and behind you to keep a buffer of space around you. This way, if the driver in front of you

  • brakes, you have room to slow down and won’t pass the braking tension along the chain of

  • traffic. Drive slower. Set your car to cruise control or try driving at a consistent speed.

  • In Belgium and the Netherlands, there’s a technique implemented at times of high volume

  • known asblock-driving’, where a chain of cars drive at a consistent speed to help

  • others keep pace. Police have also used this strategy for 15 years, driving at an appropriate

  • pace in groups to keep the flow of traffic moving.

  • Of course, the advent of autonomous self-driving cars will see automobiles that are able to

  • connect and communicate with one another, vehicle-to-vehicle, and is expected to reduce

  • traffic jams significantly. Additionally, researchers are using biologically inspired

  • algorithms to reduce travel times. In one study, researchers apply a model based on

  • ant travel behaviour as a way to route traffic. Changes in infrastructure work too; recently

  • LA became the first city to synchronize every street light, causing lights to make automatic

  • adjustments based on flow, which has reduced travel time by 14%.

  • Traffic aside, another solution is taking public transit when possible. An MIT study

  • of Boston traffic found that if 1% of current drivers took transit, everyone's commute would

  • be reduced by 18%.

  • Of course, companies like Toyota - who supported this episode - are finding new ways to address

  • mobility challenges, developing future technologies to interconnect drivers and vehicles with

  • road infrastructure. Toyota is launching their new Corolla iM Hatchback with the Toyota Safety

  • Sense technologies like pre-collision systems, automatic high beams, and lane departure alert

  • - all of which will be standard and launching across Canada this September. They also have

  • a goal to produce vehicles with zero emissions by 2050, which is something we really support!

  • So, special thanks to Toyota for supporting our channel and being a leader in the science

  • and technology space!

  • And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

There are four billion hours of travel delays in America each year, contributing to pollution,

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How Not To Get Stuck In Traffic

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    吳D posted on 2016/09/04
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