Do large spaces between cars cause traffic to fill highways? Only if people increase their spaces on average, but that's not what I'mdiscussing here. Suppose traffic is moving at 40mph. Those cars willhave several car-lengths of space between them. If those driversencounter a slowdown... what happens if they REFUSE TO PACK TOGETHER? This doesn't increase the space between drivers, since they already were widely spaced when they were moving at 40mph. Yet if they maintain theirwide spaces as they slow down, then they will have little trouble in later speeding back up again. On the other hand, if they pack togetherbumper-to-bumper like a parking lot, then nobody can move until the carahead of them moves. In that case we end up with a traffic wave which"dissolves" excruciatingly slowly. And if people need to merge as well,then the close-packing of the cars creates a permanent traffic jam: a "standing wave" which becomes pinned at the merge zone.


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