One of the things we really hate as drivers are morning traffic jams. But what causes them? Is it too many cars, wrongly adjusted traffic lights, streets too narrow, or bad driving? Let’s take a look!



What’s the biggest traffic jam you’ve ever been stuck in?





  • supply – a stock or amount of something supplied or available for use
  • demand – the desire of consumers, clients, employers, etc. for a particular commodity, service, or other item
  • congested – (of a road or place) so crowded with traffic or people as to hinder or prevent freedom of movement
  • familiar – well known from long or close association
  • commute – travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis


Think about it

  • How can be the causes of traffic jams be categorised? What is the percentage of these?
  • What theory did mathematicians from the University of Exeter come up with?
  • What is the three phase traffic jam theory?
  • What is the familiarity effect? What does it cause?
  • What did the scientists from MIT discover in their 2013 study?
  • What is your theory?


Practice makes perfect

Road rage

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior ________ a driver of an automobile or ________ motor vehicle. ________ behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in ________ unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions ________ result in injuries and even deaths. It can be thought of ________ an extreme case of aggressive driving.

The term originated in ________ United States in 1987–1988 (specifically, from Newscasters at KTLA, a local television station), when a rash of freeway shootings occurred ________ the 405, 110 and 10 freeways in Los Angeles, California. These shooting sprees even spawned a response ________ the AAA Motor Club to its members on ________ to respond to drivers with road rage or aggressive maneuvers and gestures.



Positives of traffic congestion

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Congestion has the benefit of ________ COURAGE motorists to re-time their trips so that ________ EXPENSE road space is in full use for a greater number of hours per day.

The standard ________ RESPOND to congestion is to expand road space somehow, perhaps by ________ WIDE an existing road or else by adding a new road, bridge or tunnel. However, this could well result in increased traffic flow, otherwise known as induced demand, causing congestion to appear somewhere else. Moreover, Braess’ paradox shows that adding road capacity might make congestion worse even if demand does not increase.

It has been ________ ARGUMENT that traffic congestion, by reducing road speeds in cities, could reduce the ________ FREQUENT and ________ SEVERE of road accidents.



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