Thursday, October 19, 2006

Traffic Jam and Theory of constraints

While I was driving to work today, I noticed that there is a huge traffic jam. I noticed that the vehicles are moving slowly and intermittently. I was curious to know whatÂ’s happening and so peeped out of my car. I found that there is this huge public transport vehicle carrying tons of people with many hanging out, is not able to move beyond 20KM per hour. Since the width of the road is small, each time it stops at the bus stop to pickup people, everybody behind that vehicle has to stop and wait for it move.

The first thought I got was from theory of constraints. One of the principles in TOC is,
the system throughput is dependent on the bottleneck.
In the above case related to traffic jam, the public transport bus is the bottleneck and the speed and fate of the entire traffic on the road is dependent on how fast the bus moves.

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