In non-linear physics, the accordion effect occurs when fluctuations in the motion of a travelling body causes disruptions in the flow of elements following it. This can happen in road traffic, foot marching, bicycle racing, and, in general, to processes in a pipeline. This effect generally decreases the throughput of the system in which it occurs.
More precise, the accordion effect in road traffic refers to the typical decelerations and accelerations of a vehicle when the vehicle in front of him decelerates and accelerates. These fluctuations in speed propagate backwards and are typically getting bigger and bigger further down the line and decrease the throughput of road traffic.
The accordion effect is known by various aliases such as the 'slinky effect' or the 'Concertina effect', and the string instability.
SA Nobe, FY Wang - PROC IEEE INT CONF SYST MAN CYBERN, 2001 - ieeexplore.ieee.org
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