Optimally coordinated traffic diversion by statistical physics

Tak Shing TAI, Chi Ho YEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Road accidents or maintenance often lead to the blockage of roads, causing severe traffic congestion. Diverted routes after road blockage are often decided individually and have no coordination. Here, we employ the cavity approach in statistical physics to obtain both analytical results and optimization algorithms to optimally divert and coordinate individual vehicle routes after road blockage. Depending on the number and the location of the blocked roads, we found that there can be a significant change in traveling path of individual vehicles, and a large increase in the average traveling distance and cost. Interestingly, traveling distance decreases but traveling cost increases for some instances of diverted traffic. By comparing networks with different topology and connectivity, we observe that the number of alternative routes plays a crucial role in suppressing the increase in traveling cost after road blockage. We tested our algorithm using the England highway network and found that coordinated diversion can suppress the increase in traveling cost by as much as 66% in the scenarios studied. These results reveal the advantages brought by the optimally coordinated traffic diversion after road blockage. Copyright © 2021 American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number024311
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


Tai, T. S., & Yeung, C. H. (2021). Optimally coordinated traffic diversion by statistical physics. Physical Review E, 104(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.104.024311


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