Elliott W. Montroll

Past Awards

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize: Winner(s)

A group of three papers on traffic dynamics:

  • Robert E. Chandler, Robert Herman, and Elliott W. Montroll, "Traffic Dynamics: Studies in Car Following," Operations Research 6, pp. 165-184 (March-April, 1958);
  •  Robert Herman, Elliott W. Montroll, Renfrey B. Potts, and Richard W. Rohtery, "Traffic Dynamics: Analysis of Stability in Car Following," Operations Research 7, pp. 86-106 (January-February 1959);
  • Denos C. Gazis, Robert Herman, and Renfrey B. Potts, "Car-Following Theory of Steady-State Traffic Flow," Operations Research 7, pp. 499-505 (July-August 1959).

The Committee's appraisals of the papers nominated are well summarized by some of the remarks of screeners.

  • With regard to the trilogy of papers on traffic research it was felt that they represent ". . . a fruitful application of a rich body of mathematical theory persuasively supported by experimental and computational evidence....In spite of a heavily mathematical texture, the exposition is remarkably clear and lucid". They ". . . demonstrate the superiority of the scientific method in a field bogged down by statistical analysis. . . ". In connection with the third paper of the series, "the discovery of the identical equation for steady-state behavior of vehicular traffic, assuming a car-following model, to that derived by Greenberg assuming a fluid model is an important original discovery." It "tackles the very important problem of traffic congestion, which is the source of great economic loss and a problem on a grand scale worthy of the best efforts of operations research." The Committee also felt that awards should encourage the practice of publishing a series of papers reporting a single research program as it progresses, to the point of including papers from previous years in the citation.