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Physics  1998 

Optimizing Traffic Flow

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We present an economics-based method for deciding the optimal rates at which vehicles are allowed to enter a highway. The method exploits the naturally occuring fluctuations of traffic flow and is flexible enough to adapt in real time to the transient flow characteristics of road traffic. Simulations based on realistic parameter values show that this strategy is feasible for naturally occuring traffic, and that even far from optimality, injection policies can improve traffic flow. Our results also allow a better understanding of the high flows observed in ``synchronized'' congested traffic close to ramps.


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