Found in 13 comments on Hacker News
sowbug · 2019-02-05 · Original thread
Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) contains the same conclusion that late merging leads to less congestion because of fuller utilization of available lanes. Related reasoning supports the London Underground's Holborn Station experiment to encourage escalator users to stand on both sides, rather than the customary stand-to-the-right, walk-to-the-left.

ojbyrne · 2019-02-05 · Original thread
Excellent book that mentions this as well as other counterintuitive facts about driving:
crazygringo · 2018-09-25 · Original thread
This is fascinating. The book Traffic [1] talks a great deal about how adding road capacity (e.g. more lanes) can result in zero change in congestion because more people choose to take more trips.

But this paradox appears to hold traffic constant, and uses game theory to show how more connections (not lanes) can result in worse congestion too.

It really is amazing how something as simple-seeming as roads and traffic, where it feels like simple common sense ought to apply, winds up being so deeply and fundamentally counter-intuitive.


JoeDaDude · 2017-09-16 · Original thread
So, which was the traffic simulator you worked on? I've always been fascinated by traffic and traffic modelling, read books [1], seen articles where they use cellular automata, psychology, discrete events, etc etc.


elif · 2016-03-15 · Original thread
I'm not sure I'm understanding your position very well. Are you saying that people exiting the slow lanes to enter the "moving lane" constitutes a hazard, and by punishing those actors by not letting them in, you are minimizing that hazard? If so, i'm inclined to agree philosophically.

However, I don't believe anyone should impose their philosophy with 2 tons of steel.

RE: traffic science, here are some references

zenciadam · 2014-10-11 · Original thread
If you're really interested in the subject and want to read more without dealing with the wanky blogger writing style check out "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do" (
Very cool! I remember reading about this before. It seems like a weird concept and makes some people mad, but it's real.

If you like reading and have ever spent more than an hour or two thinking about traffic and American car culture, consider reading this

clarkmoody · 2013-06-19 · Original thread
I read about a study in the book Traffic[1] that seems to negate this view, for buses at least. The findings were as follows:

1. More people use buses along a certain stretch of road.

2. Said stretch of road sees less congestion. Bus riders save time!

3. Noticing that this road has less congestion, more drivers take this route.

4. Route becomes congested due to increased interest.

5. Buses take just as long as cars to get to destination.

6. Bus riders migrate back to cars due to lost advantage of bus.

7. Road is more congested than before.

Overall, Traffic is a fantastic read and really opened my eyes.


pitt1980 · 2013-04-17 · Original thread
I don't have a study to link to

but I'm seen how one slow driving cop can cause a bottle neck behind him as noone wants to pass him

some links about about how seemingly minor factors can cause traffic jams

mryan · 2012-02-28 · Original thread
Many of the factors affecting traffic jams are a result of human drivers. This animation demonstrates two causes of traffic jams - 'waves' and zip merging:

I think it is rather easy to see how a central algorithm would be much better at a) maintaining a safe distance from the car in front, and b) merging quickly and fairly.

Route selection is just one of the things an algorithm could do.

Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt, has many interesting things to say on the subject:

chalmerj · 2012-01-18 · Original thread
There's an interesting book on the topic, focusing on the way human behavior affects traffic patterns. It's similar to other behavioral anthropology books like Dan Ariely's 'Predictably Irrational'.

Tom Vanderbilt - Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) (

chr15 · 2009-08-26 · Original thread
For anyone else fascinated by traffic patterns and driver behavior, I recommend reading Traffic: Why We Drive The Way we Do and What It Says about Us

The author goes into fascinating detail about driver psychology and discusses similar ideas like those mentioned in the essay.

Link to book:

breily · 2008-08-26 · Original thread
If you found this article interesting, I heartily recommend the author's book 'Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do' [1]. Most of this article is pretty much an excerpt of one chapter, but the book goes in a lot of directions.


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