Highway turbulence

When I lived in LA I spent a hell of a lot of time — as tends to happen there — suck in traffic. Free to consider my situation a some length, I developed a series of fairly elaborate theories of traffic. One element, enabling defensive driving by doing a bit of ad-hoc behavioral psychology on other drivers, has become an integral part of my day-o-day driving techniue. The other element, which roughly speaking is the similarity of highways to turbulent fluid in a tube, is surely none too original (I inferred it from two factiods: changing lanes unnecessarily slows down traffic, and traffic jams move in the opposite direction of traffic flow) but i occured to me today (while driving, natch) that I’d never thought to check if — as one would assume — there was sofware for modelling traffic flow. Finding this, I thought maybe there was some room in the field but nope, says Wikipedia, old news. Anyhow, neat that human psychology and some simple constraints leads to effective modelling using techniques developed for e.g. water.

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