The European Physical Journal B

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 583–598

Theoretical vs. empirical classification and prediction of congested traffic states

Interdisciplinary Physics

DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2009-00140-5

Cite this article as:
Helbing, D., Treiber, M., Kesting, A. et al. Eur. Phys. J. B (2009) 69: 583. doi:10.1140/epjb/e2009-00140-5


Starting from the instability diagram of a traffic flow model, we derive conditions for the occurrence of congested traffic states, their appearance, their spreading in space and time, and the related increase in travel times. We discuss the terminology of traffic phases and give empirical evidence for the existence of a phase diagram of traffic states. In contrast to previously presented phase diagrams, it is shown that “widening synchronized patterns” are possible, if the maximum flow is located inside of a metastable density regime. Moreover, for various kinds of traffic models with different instability diagrams it is discussed, how the related phase diagrams are expected to approximately look like. Apart from this, it is pointed out that combinations of on- and off-ramps create different patterns than a single, isolated on-ramp.


89.40.Bb Land transportation 89.75.Kd Patterns 47.10.ab Conservation laws and constitutive relations 

Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Helbing
    • 1
  • M. Treiber
    • 2
  • A. Kesting
    • 2
  • M. Schönhof
    • 2
  1. 1.ETH Zurich, UNO D11, Universitätstr. 41ZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Transport & EconomicsDresdenGermany

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