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Ford & Vanderbilt University Study the Phantom Traffic Jam Phenomenon

June 29th, 2018

Photo of a traffic jam with no cause, or a "Phantom Traffic Jam" in West Michigan Interstate

Borgman Ford would like to wish everyone in West Michigan a fun, happy, and safe Fourth of July weekend. Though Independence Day isn’t until Wednesday, US 131, I-96, and I-196 are sure to be packed this weekend with people flocking up north or to the lakeshore.

If you’ve ever experienced a sudden stop on the expressway, and after crawling along for a while, discover there was no apparent reason for the slowdown, you’ve just witnessed a “Phantom Traffic Jam.” Apart from being a nuisance, Phantom Traffic Jams cause headaches for logistics companies too, so Ford and Vanderbilt University teamed up to identify the causes and how to prevent them. The biggest reason was reactionary braking, and we already have the tech for that: Ford’s Adaptive Cruise Control! Watch the video below and read some excerpts from the Official Ford Media Center to learn more.

We Have The Tech: Ford, Vanderbilt Show We Don’t Have To Wait For Self-Driving Cars To Mitigate Phantom Traffic Jams

Ford and Vanderbilt University researchers are demonstrating this week that so-called phantom traffic jams could be minimized with widespread use of adaptive cruise control available today in most Ford vehicles.

The team conducted what is believed to be the largest, most realistic demonstration of its kind, showing that existing technology could help minimize phantom traffic jams, which happen for seemingly no reason and can cause hazardous traffic backups.

On a closed Ford test track, 36 drivers simulated normal highway traffic using adaptive cruise control, which can automatically slow down and speed up to keep pace with the car in front without getting fatigued or distracted. Those drivers then drove the same course, but without the technology – meaning they had to manually brake and accelerate the vehicle.

The results: vehicles using adaptive cruise control reduced the impact of a braking event more than those vehicles without the activated technology. Even with just one in three vehicles using adaptive cruise control, the test yielded similar traffic-busting benefits.

“A fun Fourth of July family road trip can quickly become irritating when traffic slows to a crawl – especially once you learn there was no reason for the gridlock,” said Michael Kane, supervisor, Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology. “We encourage Ford owners who have adaptive cruise control to use it during their summer travels in the hope this smart technology today can be that first step to help ease commutes.”

Ford currently offers adaptive cruise control on 71 percent of U.S. models. To read the full article, visit

Test Drive a New Ford with Adaptive Cruise Control at Borgman Ford in Grand Rapids!

If Adaptive Cruise Control sounds like something you’d like to have for your next adventure in West Michigan, visit Borgman Ford today and browse our selection of Ford Vehicles equipped with the new feature. It is available on most of the Ford lineup, so if it’s on your wishlist, let us know and we can order you the exact New Ford Vehicle you want.

If you have any questions about this or any other feature on a New Ford Vehicle, feel free to drop by and our staff will gladly help you out. We invite you to take any New Ford you’d like out for an Extended Test Drive, but will never pressure you into a sale. If it’s love at first drive, you’ll always get a Fair Trade Deal at Borgman: The Best in the West!


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