The Most Pointless Data EverPosted on 2 November 2013 | 3 comments
I like data. It makes me happy. Long ago the friend I carpool to work with introduced me to a new route to/from work and claimed it was faster. I was skeptical. And so I began to record our travel times. I wanted 10 samples per route in each direction, and it took months due to schedule changes invalidating measurements and plain forgetting to start or stop timing. But I finally had a complete set! And there is a winner! Well, on the drive from work, anyway.
We have two primary routes to work which I label Penn and Southern.
As you can see, there’s not much difference. Penn is slightly faster from T’s house (average: 17:50 vs. 18:12). Southern is ever so slightly faster from C’s house (average: 15:48 vs. 15:49). At only one second difference, that is meaningless once you take into account maybe a 5-second variability in measurement error. The following charts show all measurements, and though Southern had one spike (if removed, average Southern time becomes even closer to the Penn route), there’s clearly a lot of overlap.
For both of us, both routes are so close it really doesn’t matter. Now, Southern is a route of misery and woe because it is filled with The Worst Drivers Ever. It’s just not worth the aggravation and risk of life and limb, especially when it provides no significant time savings. Pennsylvania wins!
For the drive from work we add another route. Why don’t we have the third route to work? No real reason. Just because. So for the drive from work we have Penn, Southern and Fort Dupont.
Here we have a clear winner for both: Fort Dupont! When you look at the graph showing all times, you can see the green Fort Dupont line trends below the Penn and Southern lines, most especially to C’s house.
Now, why have I labeled this The Most Pointless Data Ever? Because I’m about to be laid off, at the end of the month. So knowing the fastest route after spending all those months collecting data will provide me no benefit. It’s pointless. But it was fun to collect and analyze, so there’s that.