The traffic system can be modeled as a nonlinear dynamical system. Dynamical systems in a chaotic state can exhibit a high degree of sensitivity in one moment and an extreme degree of robustness the next. We propose to study the following question: Do instantaneous flow times exhibit chaotic behavior under any particular set of circumstances?
This project studies actual traffic data for the presence of chaotic dynamics (or other dynamical features). The goal is to stratify samples according to regions, time of day, traffic intensity, and road type (highway vs. country road vs. city street), working with Mn/DOT and appropriate CTS representatives to determine an experimental design and subsequent sampling points. Data from existing data collection sites is used where possible (including historical data), thus minimizing the cost of data collection; new data is collected via observation where needed.