This introductory paper reviews the current state-of-the-art scientific methods used for modelling, analysing and controlling the dynamics of vehicular traffic. Possible mechanisms underlying traffic jam formation and propagation are presented from a dynamical viewpoint. Stable and unstable motions are described that may give the skeleton of traffic dynamics, and the effects of driver behaviour are emphasized in determining the emergent state in a vehicular system. At appropriate points, references are provided to the papers published in the corresponding Theme Issue.


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