There’s nothing worse than a traffic jam, especially one that you must sit in day after day. And while some traffic jams are justified by construction or some type of vehicular accident, there are many that aren’t. You look around to see what has caused the delay, but for the life of you, nothing out of the ordinary seems to be taking place. The only reasonable answer is that the traffic gods have, once again, conspired to make you late.

What or Who Creates a Traffic Jam?

If the traffic gods aren’t against you, why is it that everyone is bumper to bumper? Why is traffic moving so slow if there is not even any construction or accident? According to a study published in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportations Systems, there is a mathematical model that demonstrates the problem very well could be the fact that you’re not keeping the right distance from the car behind you. Wait? You’re probably asking yourself, did I just read that right? Not keeping the right distance from the car behind me? How is that even possible?

So, what can you do if you don’t have control over the cars behind you, yet you are supposed to be maintaining an appropriate distance from them? Doesn’t this sound like a recipe for disaster? Truth is, you need to implement your senses to better drive an appropriate distance from everyone on the road and avoid having to go ca traffic school for a traffic violation. Math has shown that when people are able to keep an equal distance between the cars ahead of them and behind them, this equal space helps maintain a more orderly fashion on the highway. In fact, traffic moves almost twice as quickly when equal space between all cars is maintained.

Understanding Emergent Property

Emergent property is the formation of something incredibly complex by smaller entities. Take for example a murmuration; this is when starlings, thousands upon thousands of them, come together and form a shifting blob. The outcome is incredible and beautiful, but most people are left asking themselves, how do the birds move so quickly without flying into one another?

Another example is when you see bats in movies fly out a small hole in a cave. Millions of them can exit a small hole in a small amount of time without ever flying into one another. Berthold Horn, a famous author, states, “the assumption is that they’re actually aware of bats all around them, not just in front, and that’s why hundreds of thousands of them can come out of a very narrow cave and not collide.” It is important to note, however, that bats have the luxury of using both echolocation and their sight to achieve their emergent property capabilities. Therefore, it is pertinent for us to start using everything at our disposal to improve traffic flow on the highway, with some of the most notable methods being to take advantage of today’s advanced technology.

Without the use of technology, a human doesn’t have the capability to calculate distances both in front and behind them simultaneously. Control systems that can perform these calculations are essential to avoiding an emergent property catastrophe. Have you ever heard of adaptive cruise control? This feature helps follow cars ahead of you at a certain distance, and when side and back sensors are added, this can help maintain equidistance. And while this seems like a viable solution, it must be realized that for this to work well, most cars on the road would need to be taking advantage of this equidistance technology.

Is equidistance technology the next big thing? Find a traffic school near me to learn more.