Bottleneck (traffic)


Bottleneck (traffic)

Metaphorically a bottleneck is a section of a route with a carrying capacity substantially below that characterising other sections of the same route. This is often a narrow part of a road, perhaps also with a smaller number of lanes, or a reduction of the number of tracks of a railway line. It may be due to a narrow bridge or tunnel, a deep cutting or narrow embankment, or work in progress on part of the road or railway.

Capacity bottlenecks are the most vulnerable points in a network and are very often the subject of offensive or defensive military actions. Capacity bottle necks of strategic importance - such as the Panama Canal where traffic is limited by the infrastructure - are normally referred to as chokepoints; capacity bottlenecks of tactical value are referred to as mobility corridors.


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  • bottleneck — meaning a holdup or constriction in traffic, dates from the late 19c, and is now used more widely of obstructions in processes of various kinds. Care should be taken to avoid unsuitable elaboration of the image, as in curing or ironing out a… …   Modern English usage

  • bottleneck — [bät′ lnek΄] n. 1. the neck of a bottle 2. any place, as a narrow road, where traffic is slowed up or halted 3. any point at which movement or progress is slowed up because much must be funneled through it [a bottleneck in production] adj. ☆… …   English World dictionary

  • Traffic engineering (transportation) — Traffic engineering is a branch of civil engineering that uses engineering techniques to achieve the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. It focuses mainly on research and construction of the immobile infrastructure necessary for this …   Wikipedia

  • Bottleneck — Bot tle*neck 1. a location or situation in which otherwise rapid progress is impeded. [PJC] 2. a point at which road traffic slows due to congestion or narrowing of the roadway. [PJC] 3. an impasse. [PJC] 4. a narrowing. Syn: constriction.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bottleneck — also bttle neck, narrow entrance, spot where traffic becomes congested, 1896; from BOTTLE (Cf. bottle) (n.) + NECK (Cf. neck) (n.). Meaning anything which obstructs a flow is from 1922; the verb in this sense is from 1928 …   Etymology dictionary

  • bottleneck — [n] obstacle barrier, block, blockage, clog, congestion, hindrance, hold up, impediment, jam, obstruction, snag, traffic jam; concepts 470,532,666,674 …   New thesaurus

  • bottleneck — ► NOUN 1) the neck or mouth of a bottle. 2) a narrow section of road or a junction where traffic flow is restricted …   English terms dictionary

  • Bottleneck — For other uses, see Bottleneck (disambiguation). A bottleneck is a phenomenon where the performance or capacity of an entire system is limited by a single or limited number of components or resources. The term bottleneck is taken from the assets… …   Wikipedia

  • bottleneck — 1. noun a) The narrow portion that forms the pouring spout of a bottle; the neck of a bottle. It is easy to create entries; processing the paperwork is the bottleneck. b) In traffic, any narrowing of the road, especially resulting in a delay. The …   Wiktionary

  • bottleneck — [[t]bɒ̱t(ə)lnek[/t]] bottlenecks 1) N COUNT A bottleneck is a place where a road becomes narrow or where it meets another road so that the traffic slows down or stops, often causing traffic jams. 2) N COUNT A bottleneck is a situation that stops… …   English dictionary