A stochastic multi-cluster model of freeway traffic
Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science,
University of Latvia, 29 Rainja Boulevard, 1459 Riga, Latvia
2 Universität Rostock, Fachbereich Physik, 18051 Rostock, Germany
Published online: 15 April 2000
A stochastic approach based on the Master equation is proposed to describe the process of formation and growth of car clusters in traffic flow in analogy to usual aggregation phenomena such as the formation of liquid droplets in supersaturated vapour. By this method a coexistence of many clusters on a one-lane circular road has been investigated. Analytical equations have been derived for calculation of the stationary cluster distribution and related physical quantities of an infinitely large system of interacting cars. If the probability per time (or p) to decelerate a car without an obvious reason tends to zero in an infinitely large system, our multi-cluster model behaves essentially in the same way as a one-cluster model studied before. In particular, there are three different regimes of traffic flow (free jet of cars, coexisting phase of jams and isolated cars, highly viscous heavy traffic) and two phase transitions between them. At finite values of p the behaviour is qualitatively different, i.e., there is no sharp phase transition between the free jet of cars and the coexisting phase. Nevertheless, a jump-like phase transition between the coexisting phase and the highly viscous heavy traffic takes place both at p→0. Monte-Carlo simulations have been performed for finite roads showing a time evolution of the system into the stationary state. In distinction to the one-cluster model, a remarkable increasing of the average flux has been detected at certain densities of cars due to finite-size effects.
PACS: 02.50.Ey – Stochastic processes / 05.70.Fh – Phase transitions: general studies / 89.40.+k – Transportation
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2000