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Bogotá - Bold Motorists Clear Roads

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  • eric.britton@ecoplan.org
    I offer this from the latest number of Nature -- reference http://www.nature.com/nsu/040607/040607-2.html -- as food for thought. What is that explanation of a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2004
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      I offer this from the latest number of Nature -- reference
      http://www.nature.com/nsu/040607/040607-2.html -- as food for thought.
      What is that explanation of a truly intelligent person: One who can
      keep two contradictory thoughts in mind without their head exploding?



      BOLD MOTORISTS CLEAR ROADS
      Computer model explains Bogotá's jam-free streets.
      8 June 2004, Michael Hopkin

      Aggressive driving can ease traffic congestion, say researchers who have
      created a computer model of the mean streets of Colombia's capital
      Bogotá.

      The study shows how a city's traffic build-up is influenced by the
      characteristic driving style of its motorists, say study authors L. E.
      Olmos and J. D. Muñoz of the National University of Colombia.

      To understand a city's roads, you have to get inside the heads of its
      motorists, say Olmos and Muñoz. "The drivers' driving is very different
      from city to city, and a realistic traffic model should keep in mind the
      particularities of each place," they say.

      So the pair hitched a ride with Bogotá's motorists and measured
      parameters such as typical acceleration and braking distance. They then
      gave virtual drivers in a computer simulation a set of rules to follow
      that were based on their real-world measurements.

      Virtual traffic congestion mimicked the real thing. The results closely
      matched the traffic densities and average speeds of Bogotá, the team
      report in an online physics research bank1.
      Easy streets

      Traffic experts had previously been puzzled as to how Bogotá, with 7
      million inhabitants and more than a million private cars, is so
      jam-free. The answer now seems that Bogotáns are simply more aggressive
      than their counterparts in London, New York and other huge metropolises.

      But why the dare-devil style? Olmos and Muñoz point out that, before
      improvements to Bogotá's public-transport and cycling infrastructure,
      and restrictions on the use of private cars, the city was routinely
      gridlocked. Perhaps formerly frustrated motorists are now revelling in
      the open road.

      Still, freedom comes at a price, say the researchers: one in six
      Colombians who die a violent death meet their end in a traffic accident.

      References
      2. Olmos, L. E. & Muñoz, J. D.. Int. J. Mod. Phys C, arXiv preprint,
      http://arXiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0406065 (2004). |Article|

      © Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2004
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