Is Traffic Traffic?

One can debate the usefulness of the traffic-traffic metaphor in network engineering. On the one hand, speed limits make a nice illustration of fairness in the network neutrality debate. On the other hand, motorway congestion and the effect of queueing in network congestion control look nothing like each other, at least until we develop motorways that change their length during rush hour, and we decide we’re okay with cars that take too long to get to their destinations being crushed and disposed of en route. One must carefully consider how well the metaphor fits reality before using it to explain or reason about anything important.

I’m wondering how subtly the third Merkel cabinet considered this when they created a single Federal Ministry for Traffic and Digital Infrastructure. I suppose it’s better than taking a suggestion from American politics and creating a Federal Ministry of Tubes.