When we’re stuck in traffic, it feels like everybody else is at fault. But the video below, by CGP Grey, explains how we’re all in it together and equally to blame – thanks to slow human reflexes.
According to the video, we create our own traffic jams by not driving at the same distance between the car in front and behind at all times.
If one car slows down, the rest follow suit and a backlog of cars catch up to one another and create “phantom intersections” – long after the interruption was over.
The solution? Perfectly coordinated driving. But this is only possible if we remove human drivers and replace them with self-driving cars, removing the need for traffic lights and getting us to our destination faster.
Originally published by Cosmos as A simple solution to road congestion
Anthea Batsakis is a freelance journalist in Melbourne, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.