Author | Marcos MartínezAutonomous mobility presents notable advantages compared to manual driving. It will be more efficient calculating both the best route and the range of speeds, but also safer, given that, thanks to Car 2 Car communications, part of the Internet of Things, the information collected by a car will reach the community to perfect its performance. However, this type of system is a far cry from being the panacea to urban and peri-urban mobility proclaimed by its developers. In fact, however efficient they may be, autonomous vehicles will not resolve the problem of traffic jams.
Understanding how traffic jams happenAlthough all traffic jams consist of vehicles backing up to a standstill, not all traffic jams have the same origin. We can define two different types:
- Bottleneck traffic jam. An excessive number of vehicles try to access a much narrower road than the current one. For example, going from a 3-lane motorway to one with two lanes.
- The phantom traffic jam. Curiously, this does not require a bottleneck or high density traffic. It occurs when a vehicle gets so close to the one in front of it that it has to brake suddenly, transferring that same effect on to the vehicles behind.