Inefficient emergent oscillations in intersecting driven many-particle flows

Rui Jiang, Dirk Helbing, Pradyumn Kumar Shukla, Qing-Song Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oscillatory flow patterns have been observed in many different driven many-particle systems. It seems reasonable to assume that the emergent oscillations in opposing flows are due to or related to an increased efficiency (throughput). In this contribution, however, we will study intersecting pedestrian and vehicle flows as an example for inefficient emergent oscillations. In the coupled vehicle–pedestrian delay problem, oscillating pedestrian and vehicle flows form when pedestrians cross the street with a small time gap to approaching cars, while both pedestrians and vehicles benefit, when they keep some overcritical time gap. That is, when the safety time gap of pedestrians is increased, the average delay time of pedestrians decreases and the vehicle flow goes up. This may be interpreted as a slower-is-faster effect. The underlying mechanism of this effect is explained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-574
Number of pages8
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2006


  • traffic flow
  • pedestrian flow
  • oscillations


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