A new study from the University of Michigan found that traffic metering systems that incorporate new algorithms for merging could reduce the seriousness of traffic slowdowns that originate near freeway on-ramps.
Craig Davis, a retired Ford Motor Co. research scientist and current adjunct professor at U-M, studied highway merging to see how current on-ramp traffic meter systems could be made more effective. Currently, meter systems try to improve traffic flow by letting a certain number of cars enter the highway each minute based on how many cars are already there. Traffic metering has been around for a long time and many large U.S. cities have metering systems, Davis says.
Davis says there are two basic types of traffic congestion: gridlock-type jams where cars stop; and the synchronous flow-type congestion, where two or more lanes of traffic all slow down to the same speed. Synchronous flow happens often near on-ramps, when cars dont give one another enough room to merge, or when too many cars are on the road.
Laura Bailey | EurekAlert!
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