Road management can cool queues

July 17, 1998

Traffic jams could be eased if patterns of their formation were addressed by road management programmes, say researchers at the Middlesex University Business School.

Jams develop according to one of two basic and highly predictable patterns. These patterns, which are made by the queueing vehicles, are either curly or straight. They can be used to calculate how to distribute cars arriving at the scene before congestion builds up.

Researchers believe that although it will never be possible to prevent traffic jams from forming, anticipating the likelihood of jams in a particular pattern will help traffic managers stop them from becoming a serious tailback.

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