A Conversation for Faculty of Science, Mathematics and Engineering

Uni: Curious Traffic Queues

Post 1


Project Title: Curious Traffic Queue

A-number of Project Title Page: A1

31 Jan 06

Description of Project:

Every morning I travel to work on a local by-pass. This intersects with the M25 at a major round-about. Including the by-pass I travel in on there are:

* 5xfeed-in roads;
* 4xfeed-off roads;
* 4xcontrolling traffic light sets - 3xcontrol feed-in roads, 1xcontrols two feed out roads.

(Not sure How to post an diagram - perhaps someone will kindly advise me?)

The issue is that in 9/10 (or more) times the offside queue is significantly faster than the nearside queue, I would estimate by something of the order of at least 5-10 car lengths, sometimes more, by the time I reach the controlling traffic lights. I always join the offside queue, a choice available to other motorists. So the queues are (presumably) randomly mixed?

1. Have other car commuters experienced similar anomalies?
2. Is there a mathematical explanation of why the outside queue should be consistently quicker than the nearside queue?
3. Are there references to readable explanatory descriptions of the underlying mechanics of why the offside queue is consistently faster?

I would be most grateful for any contributions.

Proposed Completion Date: 30 April 2006

Uni: Curious Traffic Queues

Post 2

the_jon_m - bluesman of the parish

hi itsallafake and welcome to H2G2

I fear that you have not read though the university and how it works. The entry you are proposing is not really suitable in my opinion for the univeristy, but for the writing workshop,

The uni is for a collection of entries under a common theme, such as forgetton heroines or comic book heros.

The writing workshop is where people will be onhand to help you complete your entry.

hopefully soon an Assistant community editor (ACE) will pop by to say hello and explain more about the site.

meanwhile, have a re-read about the university and also about the writing workshops.


tjm (scout)

Uni: Curious Traffic Queues

Post 3


ACE is on the way, there has been rather a backlog lately; do excuse us please!


Uni: Curious Traffic Queues

Post 4


After re-reading the suggested conditions about entries, I do not see how the entry contracdicts the guidelines. However, I would be happy to relocate suggested discussion if appropriate.

Uni: Curious Traffic Queues

Post 5

the_jon_m - bluesman of the parish

1. What is a University Project?

A University Project is simply a collection of new linked entries on a given subject that meet the criteria for the Edited Guide. With that in mind, you can choose any subject you like so long as none of your entries will be duplicating material already in the Edited Guide


The entry you are proposing is fine for an edited guide entry, but unless you want to write 5 or 6 seperate entries on various differnt traffic ques, I'd personally stick to just writing the one

Uni: Curious Traffic Queues

Post 6


Rather than telling you why you should be somewhere else, I shall try and help.

You absolutely MUST get hold of this little number by Ian Stewart, it's a fascinating romp through how mathematics really is at the bottom of it all.

"Nature's numbers" (1995) ISBN 0-465-07274-7 - talks a great deal about patterns and symmetry and stuff and then goes on to reveal why sunflower seeds form like they do, why it's always better to stand in front of a hemispherical protrusion by the centre stage at a gig and why the traffic at the Dartford Tunnel always moves fastest at the farthest sides near the road edges. It also does a jolly good job of explaining the patterns of how animals move. Try it.

"Life's other secret" by the same author is also worth a read - ISBN 0-713-99161-5 (1998).

Uni: Curious Traffic Queues - Not Started

Post 7


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