Chaos and non deterministic behavior of traffic flow patterns
Commuter traffic on major highways appears at
times to follow perceptible patterns similar to
fluid dynamics. However, recent studies have shown that traffic flows are only marginally comparable to
the behavior of fluids and are more chaotic under closer observation. The primary factor in this discrepency
has been found to be the human element intrinsic in each unit that comprises the whole, the
driver of each vehicle. Traffic flows densify and expand, speed up and slow according to a myraid of
intricately links factors. These factors are linked in both time and space. The sheer complexity of the
combinations of these factors and the wide variety of potential traffic behaviors has forced us to
ascertain that traffic flow follows not fluid dynamics, but rather what we call "Stupid Fluid" behaviors.
While the patterns are many and complex some sequences and elements can be identified. These are:
The Phantom SIG alert
The clan of the mad lexi
Below is a diagram that shows some of the elements
Commuter traffic is generally more orderly than
non-commuter traffic. This is due to the repetitive
nature of the commuter traffic. In short, the same elements, drivers and cars, travel over the same paths
repetitively. The individual knowledge of the path is heightened and the search for navigation clues is
reduced. This leads to a more orderly whole behavior.
As one travels from point A to point B during
the commute period exposure to the various patterns is
determined by your individual driving speed and style. A consistent speed with minimum lane changes will
expose the driver to less of the overall pattern set than a speed even slightly faster than the "flow" of
traffic. This driver will most likely only encounter the particle, the phantom SIG alert, and in rare instances,
the Open Season pattern. Since this driver is actually part of a Wave, this pattern will be essentially
invisible to them.
The particle can be manifested in either a faster
or slower moving vehicle. The Phantom SIG alert is a
phenomenon manifested in s sudden slow down in traffic to a crawl or even a dead stop,
followed by a slow procession for some distance and finally a return to normal speed. There will be no
apparent reason for the congestion, and thus the term Phantom SIG alert.
The faster moving vehicles will pass through many
waves of slower moving vehicles seprated by significant
distances with little or much lighter traffic. This vehicle will also encounter the particles in both faster
and slower forms. In some instances the slower particle can be a significant safety hazard as they may
block progress essentially acting as a cork, or la bouchon, in the neck of the bottle in a wave. These drivers
are either seriously impaired or blissfully free of the ravages of intellect as they take hold of the fast lane and
are hell bent on staying there even though they are obviously travelling at the same rate as the traffic to their right.
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest these drivers crotches. These are key elements in the Stupid Fluid Theory.
Periodically the faster moving vehicle will be overtaken by an even faster vehicle. This can lead to
a stupid particle dance or The dice. The dice is actually a two car road race with the remaining traffic being
treated as a moving chicane. It can be dangerous if it gets out of hand. It is probably another key element in the
Stupid Fluid Theory if it occurs during commute time due to the inevitable manifestation of both the slower particles
known as corks and the periodic Phantom SIG alerts. The dice is best engaged later at night when there are less
chicane elements (AKA innocent victims) and it give the authorities an opportunity to join in the festivities as well,
not to mention the news media chase air vehicles. At this point of course it becomes, Open Season.
There are sub elements which deserve special recognition
as they are unique unto their own. The first is the
clan of the mad lexi which is a sub element of the cork type particle or the fast moving particle. The clan of the
mad lexi element features a unique blend of arrogance and stupidity in that they find stupendous glee in either
hampering the flow of traffic or in pressuring other elements into unsafe maneuvers. This element is a candidate
for open season and should avoid Compton at all costs (where it is rumored to be open season on anything at anytime).
The clan is manifested in the multiple luxury vehicles to have made it to the market in the last 10 years including the
Absurdity, the clans namesake - Lexus, and the ever popular Cardiac. The second element to warrant mention is the
cacti, actually a european version of the clan of the mad lexi derived from the joke regarding the difference between a
BMW and a cactus, the pricks are on the inside of a BMW. (Having owned a Beemer, I must say that it was the finest
car I ever drove, but that doesn't vouch for me insofar as my prick-ness is concerned :-) We have also witnessed
several elements that share a common behavior, that of generallized stupidity en route similar to the clan above. These
elements have been sampled in the form of the minivan and anything with a Harvest sticker on it or that small fish outline.
In both cases it is believed that the element operators have been nearly permanently distracted and thus have lost
contact with the vehicular reality in which they continue to operate. We can understand both epiphany and the need to
find a binky and how each can place demands on the operator element that contribute most significantly to the stupidity
of Stupid Fluid.
Environmental stinkage is a factor in most Phantom
SIG alerts predominatntly found on the Jersey Turnpike just north
of Newark Airport and on the PCH where the 55 crosses over into Newport Beach, as well as on the 405 just south of
LAX and of course there is the greatest stinkage area blanketing several highways south of Houston near Texas City.
Stinkage can distract even the most enclosed operators and cause chaotic driving patterns. There is one additional
stinkage element, internal vehicular stinkage, manifested by passenger units. this is most prominent in geographic areas
that feature high populations of resturants with very rich consumables. This is the most dangerous envornmental stinkage
as it is unpredictable and causes radical vehicle gyrations as the drivers attempts to gather the most fresh air into the
vehicle as rapidly as possible while being subjected to incessant giggling from the offending passenger unit.
This Theory was developed over the course of several
years beginning in 1994 with the chief researchers being
Ed Sauer, Jon Strabala and Dr. John Griffiths. SIgnificant contributions were made by the millions of elements we joined
every day in our treks between Orange County and Los Angeles City Center. Formulas have been developed that
enhance the description of this theory and are available at Dr. Griffiths web site at : Stupid Fluid Dynamics