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J Theor Biol. 2004 Nov 21;231(2):279-85.

Collective effects in traffic on bi-directional ant trails.

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Institute for Theoretical Physics, Universität zu Köln, D- 50937 Köln, Germany.


Motivated by recent experimental work of Burd et al., we propose a model of bi-directional ant traffic on pre-existing ant trails. It captures in a simple way some of the generic collective features of movements of real ants on a trail. Analysing this model, we demonstrate that there are crucial qualitative differences between vehicular- and ant-traffics. In particular, we predict some unusual features of the flow rate that can be tested experimentally. As in the uni-directional model a non-monotonic density-dependence of the average velocity can be observed in certain parameter regimes. As a consequence of the interaction between oppositely moving ants the flow rate can become approximately constant over some density interval.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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