The term “traffic congestion” (traffic jam) denotes a strong faltering or stalled traffic flow on a road. One of the reasons for this is too high a number of vehicles per unit time (or per length). The causes of a traffic congestion, however, cannot be explained.
Congestion – even those on waterways, railroad tracks, airports or in space – are a subject of research in transportation science.
Transportation experts distinguish between “traffic jam” and “traffic congestion.” In Switzerland, for example, traffic jam is when the traffic flows at least less than 10 km/hr for a minute. If the velocity is in the range between 10 and 30 km/hr, one can speak of congested traffic.
Typically, the capacity of a road is 1500 to 2500 vehicles per hour per lane. Such capacity can vary, for example by unfavorable weather such as rain, snow, or ice, and ineffective behavior of road users, for example by curiosity. This can cause jams out of nowhere, where the cause remains hidden from the road users even after the end of the jam, (as opposed to an accident in which you can see the cause when passing the scene of the accident).
A locally reduced capacity of the traffic by events such as lane closures due to road works or accidents and lane constrictions favoring further traffic jam formation. The narrowing of the traffic route can also be called a bottleneck.
However, an increased volume of traffic may be responsible for congestion. Reasons for this may be rush hour traffic (especially at the beginning and at the end of vacation and usually heavy traffic in tourist areas) and major events.
By means of permanently installed sensors on the highway, the traffic flow is measured objectively. Only the left lane is monitored because the parameters distance and speed on the other tracks can be blocked due to the traffic density in the left lane. The sensors are located on average every 4 km, so here are a total of 4000 sensors in use.
Warning of road users is done with the help of danger signs (Z 124), or by the display of texts. In addition, speed limits can be arranged. Congestion warning systems have mostly an automatic detection and come gantries in the form of variable message signs are used.
Traffic reports are read in traffic and sent via TMC (Traffic Message Channel) in the non-audible range of the FM signal in digital form. However, the TMC area is very narrow, so all messages are transmitted only about every fifteen minutes. Moreover, since it often happens that a receiver missed a message, the reception of the TMC message may be considerably delayed.
Traffic reports on TMC can be received and processed by navigation systems.
Traffic reports are published in the teletext and the Internet from different providers. Furthermore, they can be queried individually via mobile phones. For this purpose, the location of the inquirer is automatically located and queried more information route.
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