Decades ago, either Popular Mechanics or Popular Science included an article that ostensibly described traffic behavior on highways. The author opined that drivers traveled in wolfpacks, i.e. they traveled in large groups with a good deal of space between wolfpacks. He advised drivers to travel halfway between the wolfpacks to avoid the jostling that might result.
The author completely misunderstood what was going on. People most definitely do not drive in wolfpacks. Slower drivers cause a temporary bottleneck delaying faster drivers. It is true that some drivers, for whatever reason, never pass the driver in front of them, with some of them even tailgating. If one could see it from above, one would see that the so-called wolfpacks are constantly dissolving and reforming in different places with different vehicles, with the faster drivers eventually making it through one obstruction only to run into another one.
A related observation can be made by someone looking out of a window of a tall building looking over a highway. Traffic delays do not remain in one place, but actually move down the road in the direction of approaching vehicles, in a classic example of wave motion.
Ford and Jaguar Land Rover have created a technology called Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA). They propose to allow drivers to time the lights, i.e. travel at the proper speed to reach the next traffic light so that it turns green just as they reach it.
There are at least five different types of drivers around our hero vehicle:
1) People who will continue through the next traffic light.
2) People who will turn left at the next traffic light.
3) People who will turn right at the next traffic light.
4) People who will turn left before the next traffic light.
5) People who will turn right before the next traffic light.
If the GLOSA vehicle selfishly slows down to to time the lights, assuming it is continuing through the light, it may delay vehicles from #3, #4, and #5 behind it. If the traffic light is configured to allow left turns before continuing traffic, vehicles from #2 behind it may miss the next cycle.
Given that a GLOSA vehicle will most likely be programmed to not exceed the speed limit, it will almost certainly cause delays given that many people travel faster than the speed limit.
And we may see more road rage incidents from drivers angry that the GLOSA vehicle is driving as if it were the only vehicle on the road.
If all vehicles on the road were self-drivers governed by GLOSA, the system could allow traffic in general to move as fast as possible, but having only some vehicles governed by GLOSA is a wacky idea.