ND Physicists Predict Traffic Patterns

Gene Stowe | November 12, 2014 

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Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have designed a simple, yet highly accurate traffic prediction model for roadway transportation networks. They have recently published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

“Transportation networks and in particular the highway transportation network are like the body’s circulatory system for the nation,” says Zoltán Toroczkai, professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, who co-authored the study with physics graduate student Yihui Ren and national and international collaborators.
 
The team’s model is built on principles from physics similar to those that describe the current flows in circuits. However, it also addresses the uncontrolled human dimension for both the choice of destination and the choice of pathway to the destination. The choice of destination is based on an earlier model by Filippo Simini, Marta González and others that takes into account the reasons why people travel, such as commuting to a job. That study is coupled with a model of the cost considerations people use to choose which path to take, such as favoring a quicker interstate route over a shorter but slower road.
 
“We tend to consider time-based costs rather than distanced-based costs when traveling,” Toroczkai says. “The majority of people, at least in the U.S., are worried about the time they spend on the road. While it seems natural, our work demonstrates that quantitatively.”

Read more at the College of Science. 

 by Daily Domer Staff

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