More on traffic light puzzle

This morning, I took another observation of the traffic light scheme that I discussed in the previous post. It turns out that my distinction of “day time” and “night time” schemes is not precise. In fact, the distinction should be “rush-hour scheme” and “non-rush-hour scheme”. But again, the basic idea is on the distribution of cars, depending on the absolute number of cars on each type of lane.

Also, my friend Z has just suggested me to take into consideration the possibility of the “self-selection” by car drivers.  For example, car drivers, especially during rush hours, may change his/her route with the goal of minimizing the waiting time at traffic lights. So if the straight-through lane is red, he/she might shift the car to the left-turn lane to avoid waiting time. The equilibrium of the distribution of cars, as economists would say, is reached when an incoming car is indifferent between staying in the straight-through and in the left-turn lane.

Now the puzzle begins to sound interesting even to social scientists, as the selection effect by agents is brought into concern. A researcher on operation studies might find the design of such schemes trivial, but one that bears in mind the selection effect will not. But anyway, I am officially a geek.

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