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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2006 Apr;73(4 Pt 2):046107. Epub 2006 Apr 7.

Microscopic features of moving traffic jams.

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  • 1DaimlerChrysler AG, REI/VF, HPC: G021, 71059 Sindelfingen, Germany. boris.kerner@daimlerchrysler.com


Empirical and numerical microscopic features of moving traffic jams are presented. Based on a single vehicle data analysis, it is found that within wide moving jams, i.e., between the upstream and downstream jam fronts there is a complex microscopic spatiotemporal structure. This jam structure consists of alternations of regions in which traffic flow is interrupted and flow states of low speeds associated with "moving blanks" within the jam. Moving blanks within a wide moving jam resemble electron holes in the valence band of semiconductors: As the moving blanks that propagate upstream appear due to downstream vehicle motion within the jam, so appearance of electron holes moving with the electric field results from electron motion against the electric field in the valence band of semiconductors. Empirical features of moving blanks are found. Based on microscopic models in the context of the Kerner's three-phase traffic theory, physical reasons for moving blanks emergence within wide moving jams are disclosed. Microscopic nonlinear effects of moving jam emergence, propagation, and dissolution as well as a diverse variety of hysteresis effects in freeway traffic associated with phase transitions and congested traffic propagation are numerically investigated. Microscopic structure of moving jam fronts is numerically studied and compared with empirical results.

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