Stuck at an intersection, you always watch unfold the Fundamental Problem of Traffic. On green, the first car accelerates, and then the next, and then the next, and then the next, and then you,only to catch the red. Had the cars accelerated simultaneously you would have made it through. Coordination – not cars – is the problem, because we are monkey drivers with slow reaction times and short attention spans. Even if we tried getting everyone to press the pedal on 3-2-1-now would be challenging. This dis-coordination limits how many cars can get through an intersection and when one backs up to the next, that’s when city-sized gridlock cascades happen, taking forever to clear.
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