Living With Traffic Congestion

Pavement Ants

Pavement Ants

Commuters in cars must deal with frustrating levels of traffic congestion that do not afflict other animals. Most animals that move in groups are all moving in the same direction: A flock of birds. A stampede of bison. A swarm of locusts. Individuals change position within the group, and go faster and slower, but the the movement is always unidirectional, not bidirectional or with cross-traffic.

However, ants can have bidirectional flow and cross traffic without creating as much congestion. Why? Part of the reason is that ants are from the same colony and are moving to accomplish a single goal as a group. It matters not if an individual makes the trip slightly faster or slower. It only matters that the net movement of the entire group be as efficient as possible. Thus ants act much more cooperatively than do drivers of cars. Human drivers are self-absorbed, intent on making their own individual trip as short as possible. Individuals often act in ways that makes the movement of the group less efficient and more time consuming.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Traffic Congestion

  1. Pingback: Living With Traffic Congestion – Entomo Planet

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