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Network breakdown “at the edge of chaos” in multi-agent traffic simulations

Rieser, Marcel; Nagel, Kai

Traffic is highly influenced by network structure and human behaviour. Small changes in the human behaviour can lead to huge changes in the load of a traffic network. Current transportation models do not, and most of them cannot, research such random behaviour but always calculate a steady state. In our multi-agent transport simulation, we frequently observe seemingly random "network breakdowns", huge traffic jams that spread over a big part of the network, making a normal traffic flow impossible. This paper describes the investigations that were performed on the results of our large-scale multi-agent transport simulations in an attempt to contribute to the better understanding of the dynamic processes in such simulations and, hopefully, better understanding and modelling of the real-world.
Published in: The European Physical Journal B, 10.1140/epjb/e2008-00153-6, Springer