Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Everything I know about traffic flow I learned from ants

Slate has a new video explaining how ant travel contributes to our understanding of traffic flows. The upshot is that through dispersed knowledge ants can determine the most efficient routes between their origins and destinations. This stands in direct contrast to conventional transport planning, where centralized decisions are seen as crucial to an efficient system. Yet increasing our reliance on networked (dispersed) knowledge seems a promising way forward not only for traffic congestion (such as through the use of Dash Navigation) but also for increasing the individual efficiency of drivers.

On a related note, the guy who did the simulations in the Slate video does a lot of cool work worth checking out.

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