Chris Bishop explains Braess’s paradox, the very counterintuitive fact that adding extra capacity to a network, in which the moving entities selfishly choose their route, can in some cases reduce overall performance.
A concrete interpretation: removing fast roads can actually reduce the average journey times if all drivers act selfishly. The same phenomenon also occurs in data traffic over the internet and power transmission networks. The example in the video may seem artificial but has been observed in real life as well:
- In Seoul, a speeding-up in traffic was seen when a motorway was removed as part of a restoration project.
- In Stuttgart, despite investments into the road network, the traffic situation did not improve until a section of newly built road was closed for traffic again.
- In New York City, the closing of a street reduced the amount of congestion in the area.