So you’re cruising down the highway, when all of a sudden you’re in a traffic jam. But there are no accidents, construction, or other emergency activity, so why does this happen? TED-Ed explores the phenomenon known as a “phantom traffic jam,” what makes them happen, and how we might minimize their occurence.
THE BEST Traffic
Experimental filmmaker and motion graphic artist Dirk Koy provides a unique perspective of a traffic circle. By rotating top-down, time-lapse footage of vehicles as they pass in and out of the lanes, it almost looks like they’re being magnetically pulled towards the center of the circle, then released back into the world.
Ever wondered what sort of intersection offers the smoothest traffic flow? Check out this oddly satisfying compilation of 4-way junctions, simulated with the Cities: Skylines mod Traffic Manager: President Edition. Too bad there’s not room for stack interchanges everywhere.
Half as Interesting explains the world’s worst traffic jam, which happened on China’s G110 highway in 2010 and lasted an incredible 12 days. Trucks carrying coal clogged up the road, then inexplicably, 5 days into the epic jam, planned maintenance work began on the road.
The always compelling CGP Grey looks at the behaviors underlying traffic patterns, such as city gridlock and highway traffic jams. He provides some simple things we can do to reduce the problem, but his ultimate fix would require a far more dramatic change.
If you live in any major U.S. city, traffic is an everyday part of life. But any time you feel the road rage boiling over, just think about this video of a major traffic jam in Beijing, and you might feel just a little better about the slowdowns you encounter on a daily basis.
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