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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Causes And Effects Of Phase Transitions In Highway Traffic


It is shown that all the phase transitions in and out of freely flowing traffic reported earlier for a German site could be caused by bottlenecks, as are all the transitions observed at two other sites examined here. Furthermore, all the evidence indicates that bottlenecks cause these transitions in a predictable way, and no evidence is found that stoppages (jams) appear spontaneously in free flow traffic for no apparent reason. The most salient phenomena observed at all locations are explained in terms of a simple theory specific to traffic.

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