Traffic Flow Breakdown with No Apparent Reason
For my master's thesis, I employed traffic flow data of a given section of Tehran-Karaj Freeway in Iran with aim of analyzing the capacity of the freeway. The observed bottleneck was not a systematic bottleneck that can be associated with geometry characteristic of the freeway. Basically, the breakdown happened after an unnecessary brake of drivers. In fact, the incapability of the following drivers to maintain the distance to the other car caused such a problem. I have found a video that can explain the situation with an real-life experiment.
The Autonomous Vehicle can potentially improve the stability of the traffic flow. It means the capacity of the freeways would be increased not only because of the shorter distance between vehicles but also maintaining the distance. The higher capacity can be translated to less investment in transportation infrastructure (roadways).