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X and the City by John A. Adam

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Chapter 10

TRAFFIC IN THE CITY

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I hooked up my accelerator pedal in my car to my brake lights. I hit the gas, people behind me stop, and I’m gone.

—Steven Wright

X = q: KINEMATICS IN THE CITY

There is a fundamental relationship between the flow of traffic q in vehicles per unit time, the concentration k in vehicles per unit distance, and the speed u of the traffic. It is q = ku. In general each of these quantities is a function of distance (x) and time (t), but the form q(k) = ku(k) may also be valuable. Another useful quantity is the spacing per vehicle, s = k−1. If s0 is the minimum possible spacing, that is, when the vehicles are stationary ...

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