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Type: Journal article
Title: Experimental investigation of ant traffic under crowded conditions
Author: Poissonnier, L.A.
Motsch, S.
Gautrais, J.
Buhl, J.
Dussutour, A.
Citation: eLife, 2019; 8:e48945-1-e48945-18
Publisher: eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 2050-084X
Statement of
Laure-Anne Poissonnier, Sebastien Motsch, Jacques Gautrais, Jerome Buhl, Audrey Dussutour
Abstract: Efficient transportation is crucial for urban mobility, cell function and the survival of animal groups. From humans driving on the highway, to ants running on a trail, the main challenge faced by all collective systems is how to prevent traffic jams in crowded environments. Here, we show that ants, despite their behavioral simplicity, have managed the tour de force of avoiding the formation of traffic jams at high density. At the macroscopic level, we demonstrated that ant traffic is best described by a two-phase flow function. At low densities there is a clear linear relationship between ant density and the flow, while at large density, the flow remains constant and no congestion occurs. From a microscopic perspective, the individual tracking of ants under varying densities revealed that ants adjust their speed and avoid time consuming interactions at large densities. Our results point to strategies by which ant colonies solve the main challenge of transportation by self-regulating their behavior.
Keywords: Ants; traffic
Rights: Copyright Poissonnier et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
RMID: 1000007753
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.48945
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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