Traffic Waves, Autonomous Vehicles, and the Future of Traffic Modeling
Benni Seibold, Temple University


Via analysis and simulations of traffic models, we demonstrate that
stop-and-go waves in vehicular traffic flow can arise from
instabilities, caused by the collective driving dynamics of the humans
on the road. Moreover, these nonlinear waves are mathematical analogs
of detonation waves. We then study the near future, in which a few
connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) will be immersed in the
traffic stream. We present theoretical as well as experimental results
that show how a small number of CAVs can be employed for future
traffic flow control to remove traffic waves; and we quantify the
environmental impact of this control. We close with an outlook on how
traffic flow on our roadways is changing fundamentally, and how this
will greatly affect traffic modeling at the interface of applied
mathematics, physics, and engineering.