Journal of Statistical Physics, Vot. 42, Nos. 3/4, 1986. p. 647-687.
An effort is made to introduce thermodynamic and statistical thermodynamic methods into the treatment of nonphysical (e.g., social, economic, etc.) systems. Emphasis is placed on the use of the entire thermodynamic framework, not merely entropy. Entropy arises naturally, related in a simple manner to other measurables, but does not occupy a primary position in the theory. However, the maximum entropy formalism is a convenient procedure for deriving the thermodynamic analog framework in which undetermined multipliers are thermodynamic-like variables which summarize the collective behavior of the system. We discuss the analysis of Levine and his coworkers showing that the maximum entropy formalism is the unique algorithm for achieving consistent inference of probabilities. The thermodynamic-like formalism for treating a single lane of vehicular traffic is developed and applied to traffic in which the interaction between cars is chosen to be a particular form of the "follow-the-leader" type. The equation of state of the traffic, the distributions of velocity and headway, and the various thermodynamic-like parameters, e.g., temperature (collective sensitivity), pressure, etc. are determined for an experimental example (Holland Tunnel). Nearest-neighbor and pair correlation functions for the
vehicles are also determined. Many interesting and suggestive results are obtained.