Scientists present concept for the elimination of traffic jams

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A team of researchers from Cologne and New York has presented proposals for future traffic management. A dynamic, fair toll for road use could reduce congestion.

In the current issue of Nature, the economists Peter Cramton, Axel Ockenfels (both University of Cologne) and R. Richard Geddes (Cornell University) describe a concept in which drivers would have to pay a dynamic fee for the use of roads. This would contribute to avoiding traffic jams and protecting the environment, the researchers argue. Fees that respond to traffic volumes in and with site precision, taking into account factors such as vehicle type and exhaust emissions, can significantly improve and contribute to reducing air pollution.

Traffic jams are not only annoying and time-consuming, they are also costly. In Germany, the economic damage caused by congested roads in 2017 totaled approximately €80 billion. "Currently, who cause , while damaging the environment and even incurring costs, are paying just as much as those who are not involved," says Ockenfels. "Without a toll, this means that the general public is subsidizing these users. That's unfair." A toll for road use would bring these costs to light and reduce congestion. "If the fee adapts to the volume of traffic and the situation on the road in real time, i.e., is more expensive at rush hour than around noon, everyone can choose the route that suits them best. This already works for navigation systems," explains Cramton. "Ultimately, this would reduce the load on main traffic arteries, improve traffic flow and reduce CO2 emissions.

Technically, a dynamic road toll could already be implemented in real time today. Navigation and telecommunications systems, GPS data and apps can provide drivers with information and predict traffic volumes. "Of course, you have to develop a system that is an acceptable compromise between collecting personal data and protecting privacy," says Cramton. Modern cryptology could allow system operators to charge tolls without exposing private travel information.

The scientists do not believe that the toll would disadvantage people who cannot afford the tolls. "Pricing must be dynamic and offer options. Imagine pricing the left lane of regularly congested, multi-lane roads. A lower traffic volume on the left lane would be the result. This in turn means that the flow of on the right-hand lane also increases," says Ockenfels. "That way, everyone benefits."


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The end of traffic jams? Dutch test new system

More information: Peter Cramton et al, Set road charges in real time to ease traffic, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-05836-0
Provided by University of Cologne
Citation: Scientists present concept for the elimination of traffic jams (2018, August 3) retrieved 21 November 2018 from https://techxplore.com/news/2018-08-scientists-concept-traffic.html
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Aug 03, 2018
"Currently, road users ..., are paying just as much as those who are not involved," says Ockenfels. "Without a toll, this means that the general public is subsidizing these road users. That's unfair."

But many of those road users are providing goods and/or services for the general public. Increases in their transportation costs will merely be handed down to the consumers (general public). Either way, the general public pays.

Aug 03, 2018
>>Imagine pricing the left lane of regularly congested, multi-lane roads. A lower traffic volume on the left lane would be the result. This in turn means that the flow of traffic on the right-hand lane also increases," says Ockenfels. "That way, everyone benefits." <<
Yes, brilliant! Cram most of the traffic on a four lane road into the right lanes! After all, we must leave the left lanes clear for the speeders! Oh, wait. I'm guessing that this system will pick up on speeding, wouldn't it... Seriously, the strategy should be to maximize the use of all lanes.

Aug 03, 2018
This would cause even more online shopping. Causing more retail business to close.

Aug 03, 2018
So they are going to force less affluent people out of the left lane by charging more. Thus traffic in the middle or right lanes will be even worse. Progressive socialists never met a tax they did not like.

Aug 03, 2018
So they are going to force less affluent people out of the left lane by charging more. Thus traffic in the middle or right lanes will be even worse. Progressive socialists never met a tax they did not like.


No, if they are truly progressive socialists they will come up with a way to subsidize the really poor so they can use the left lane, leaving the working middle class that actually need to commute to work screwed as usual.

Aug 03, 2018
Here in the US they wasted billions on High Occupancy Vehicle lanes that no one uses. Traffic could be backed up for miles on the other lanes and the HOV lanes will be empty. This is just more progressive BS trying to limit human freedoms.

Aug 04, 2018
Hey, you all wanted fascism... You got it! Enjoy!

Oh wait, you are actually gullible enough to believe that someone as self-centered as yourself, would be allowed to personally benefit from a corrupt system?

Now que the laugh track.

You could always pull a Mussolini. (Benny the Moose to his friends) By reprinting the train schedules to show the actual times the trains currently arrive. That worked so well, for about five minutes.

Aug 04, 2018
I love it when conspiracy theorists throw around labels they really don't know the meaning of, when they can't prove a point.
You are all marxist, socialists, nazis, aztecs?, demigods, atheists, war mongers etc. :-)

Aug 05, 2018
The title certainly seems like hyperbolae. Many of the traffic jams we have here - are simply too many vehicles - trying to squeeze down not enough roads. The highway department always seems 2 steps behind the increasing volume. Autonomous driving - that would allow vehicles to travel closer together would seem to have a better shot at 'elimination' of traffic jams. Rubber-necking is also a problem. Slowing down to gawk at an accident. That could be eliminated with autonomous driving. AI is much smarter than homo stupidus! Maybe flying cars will reduce some of the congestion - but I have some serious reservations. Flying cars hitting buildings would not sit well. Perhaps AI will prevent that one - time will tell.

rderkis - loved your response to classic MR166 crap. System wont allow me to five you...

Aug 05, 2018
They won't allow the village idiot to fly an air taxi so crashing into buildings won't happen, but come they will, flying taxi's is the inevitable near future, and that is fact

Aug 05, 2018
yeah, people are sitting in a traffic jam because they were bored.... /s

Aug 05, 2018
Traffic is just like an hourglass. Once more grains per hour enter the glass than the pinched part can pass you get a backup. Otherwise, traffic flows freely. When I used to commute morning traffic would flow at 70-75 MPH or so. But if there was a cop along side the road traffic would slow down to the speed limit at that point and the result would be terrible stop and go traffic for miles before the point of the slowdown.


Aug 06, 2018
To make moral rationalizations of "fairness" is a slippery slope--perhaps the wealthier who gain more in there transportation should pay more than the less well-off. Perhaps those vacationing should pay more than those who must use the roads to earn a living or get to emergency medical help--and so forth. Scientists are not philosophers or religious leaders. They should be improving efficiency, economy, and flow-through--a technological win-win, not a stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

This article is like one on red light cameras that cause at least as many accidents (and nervous wreck drivers) as they prevent, or newer electronic traffic meters to transfer more money from the public to politicians who "didn't raise taxes"--hiked to pay for these technical wonders and provide companies like Red Flicks with their cut of the action. Science & technology in the service of politicians is not worthy of publication.

Aug 06, 2018
Here in Virginia, USA, the state is installing "Lexus" lanes for the rich to use while most others use the remaining lanes for a parking lot. These lanes were "High Occupancy Lanes" until someone decided we needed to get the rich to work first so they could dock the pay of the poor shlubs who work for them coming in late because they could not afford the Lexus lanes. To be sure, the old HOV requirement was 2 or 3 occupants (depending on where the HOV lanes were located). Now, you must have a special toll device in your vehicle to use these same lanes, and there is a switch in the device you can set if you meet the new HOV rules (3 or more everywhere gets a free ride in those lanes). This system is for the Washington DC beltway, which goes through DC, Virginia, and Maryland, but only applies to Virginia. The company (Australian) that is installing this has a contracted income stream for the next 80 years. In the mean time the only new rail is to Dulles airport. Nothing for commuters.

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