Can Traffic Jams Truly Be Avoided?

Engineers are working hard to reduce traffic jams, but what causes it in the first place?

If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.

We have all been there. You are trying to get to work or drop off the kids at school on time but you are stuck in traffic. Indeed, considering the number of automobiles on the roads these days it's no surprise that traffic jams are common.

In 2015, there were an estimated 1.3 billion vehicles on the road. By 2040, that number is expected to almost double. Can anything be done to avoid such intense traffic?

Some engineers are working on exactly that. But first, let's see what causes traffic jams in the first place. According to experts, although construction, car accidents, and poor city planning can all be to blame, jams are very often caused by human errors.


That's a swell realization because if humans cause these jams they may very well learn how not to do so anymore. These human errors are referred to as “phantom traffic jams.”

They all start with a small action by a driver in heavy traffic that causes a ripple effect. What is this ripple effect? How does it contribute to traffic jams? And what can be done to avoid it? We answer all these questions and more in our video.

Follow Us on

Stay on top of the latest engineering news

Just enter your email and we’ll take care of the rest:

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.