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PhysicsWorld Archive

The physics of traffic

  1. Boris S Kerner
August 1999
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Article summary

Traffic jams are a fact of life for many car drivers. Every morning millions of drivers around the world sit motionless in their vehicles for long periods of time as they try to get to work, and then repeat the experience on their journeys home in the evening. The same thing often happens when they are driving to the coast for the weekend or to the airport to go on their holidays. They blame other drivers, increasing volumes of traffic and, inevitably, roadworks. So what has any of this got to do with physics?