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Old 12-14-2007, 05:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
MetroMPG
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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Traffic experiments: a cure for waves and jams (improves other people's MPG too)

This isn't specifically about fuel economy, but it applies.

This guy has written about "standing waves" in traffic, and how a driver either contributes to them, or (as he suggests) can help reduce them.

First off: here's a standing traffic wave, nicely illustrated (You should see an animated gif). We see this all the time:



Now his interest is generally about smoothing things out, but removing this wave (if you could) would also have the effect of collectively saving a lot of fuel by reducing herd mentality braking/accelerating around the wave.

Quote:
The solution seems obvious: drivers with a smooth "calm" style will tend to damp out the waves and produce a uniform flow... and the few drivers who intentionally drive at a single constant speed will wipe out the waves entirely.
He suggests, when you spot a standing wave ahead of you (well ahead), opening up a large gap in front by reducing your speed. When the leading edge of your gap reaches the last car in the standing wave, the wave begins to shrink (cars are still accelerating away from the front of the wave). Ideally, your car reaches the wave area just as the last car accelerates away, and you didn't have to brake to a stop (neither did anyone behind you).

Lots more: http://amasci.com/amateur/traffic/trafexp.html

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