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Traffic is the movement of vehicles and pedestrians on a road, and more generally (and more traditionally) also the movement of trains, ships, planes, etc.; with the focus more on the content than on the vehicle it is also the movement of goods or information. In addition to considering traffic along a route one may consider traffic coming and going in a particular locality. In some contexts "traffic" means commerce.

In telecommunication the term traffic has the following meanings:

  1. The information moved over a communication channel.
  2. A quantitative measurement of the total messages and their length, expressed in CCS, erlang or similar units, during a specified period of time.

From Federal Standard 1037C.

Transport traffic engineering deals with vehicular traffic, whereas telecommunications traffic engineering deals with communication. Logistics is concerned with the movement of goods.

Table of contents
1 Organized Traffic
2 Unorganized Traffic
3 Which Side?
4 External links

Organized Traffic

Western vehicular traffic is generally organized, flowing in lanes of travel for a particular direction, with interchanges, traffic signals, and/or signage at intersectons to facilitate the orderly and timely flow of traffic. Vehicles also generally travel at the same speed on a given roadway.

Organized traffic typically reduces travel time. Though vehicles wait at some intersections, wait time at others is much shorter. Organized traffic degenerates to disorganized with an unexpected occurrence, be it road construction, an accident, or an animal obstructing the road. On particularly busy freeways, a disruption can persist until traffic thins. William Beaty observed persistent disruptions and named the phenomenon traffic waves.

Simulations of organized traffic frequently involve queuing theory and stochastic processes.

Unorganized Traffic

Unorganized traffic occurs in the absence of lanes and/or signals. Roads do not have lanes, though operators tend to keep to the appropriate side if the road is wide enough. Operators frequently overtake other operators, and obstructions are not uncommon.

Intersections have no signals or signage, and a particular road at a busy intersection may be dominant (that is, its traffic flows) until a break in traffic, at which time the dominance shifts to the other road where vehicles are queued. At the intersection of two perpendicular roads, a traffic jam results if four vehicles face each other side-on.

Which Side?

Brian Lucas answers the question, "Which side of the road do they drive on?" About 34% of the world by country population drives on the left, and 66% keeps right. By roadway miles, about 72% drive on the right.

External links

See also: