Postprint version. Published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Volume 33, Issue 5, June 1, 1999, pages 365-379.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Robert Bertini was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/S0965-8564(98)00034-2.
It is shown that all the phase transitions in and out of freely flowing traffic reported earlier for a German site could be caused by bottlenecks, as are all the transitions observed at two other sites examined here. The evidence suggests that bottlenecks cause these transitions in a predictable way, and does not suggest that stoppages (jams) appear spontaneously in free flow traffic for no apparent reason. It is also shown that many of the complicated instability phenomena observed at all locations can be explained qualitatively in terms of a simple Markovian theory specific to traffic that does not necessarily include spontaneous transitions into the queued state as a feature.
Civil and Environmental Engineering