Wednesday, January 4, 2017

It is Called a Bus

Perhaps I have too much time. But I have been reading the MIT News Office documents, it seems to be in my opinion a Politburo type now. The one which caught my eye today was the "car pooling" idea for Manhattan.  You see I actually drove a cab for a short while, as the front seat driver with an uncle, briefly mind you, and I am back and forth and am an avid subway user. Nothing better than the Bway line from 34th to 42nd at rush hour. It makes Tokyo look genteel. You want diversity, get on that train. And yes, the East side Lex line is just as bad.

Now to the MIT folks. They state in the MIT News blurb:

Led by ... MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), researchers developed an algorithm that found 3,000 four-passenger cars could serve 98 percent of taxi demand in New York City, with an average wait-time of only 2.7 minutes. “Instead of transporting people one at a time, drivers could transport two to four people at once, resulting in fewer trips, in less time, to make the same amount of money,” .... “A system like this could allow drivers to work shorter shifts, while also creating less traffic, cleaner air, and shorter, less stressful commutes.” The team also found that 95 percent of demand would be covered by just 2,000 10-person vehicles, compared to the nearly 14,000 taxis that currently operate in New York City. Using data from 3 million taxi rides, the new algorithm works in real-time to reroute cars based on incoming requests, and can also proactively send idle cars to areas with high demand — a step that speeds up service 20 percent, ...

First, people want to  go to different places. If you want to join in there are buses. If you want to get there fast there is the subway. If you want to go really fast, try a helicopter. The copter can get you from one point to another fast but it does not deliver you to where you really want to go, no landing spot.

Now for the above. "Shorter hours" means less pay. I guess these wizards have never really worked on the streets of New York. The traffic problem is simple. No alleys. Thus all the trucks double and triple park during rush hours and traffic stops. You even stop the bus.

Some how the above study seems to have spend no time finding our how people get around New York. The 95% coverage makes a tone of illogical assumptions in my opinion.

Thus in my opinion and in my almost 75 years of experience, having been born and raised here, traffic is driven by individual decisions, not group decisions. Just spend time on the cross town S line from Times Square to Grand Central. There are millions of individuals just passing by. Stop that individuality, in my opinion, some half thought out academic illusion, and you destroy what makes New York work. If not the world. This is not a world of neat computer science. This is mass humanity.

Stay in Cambridge, please. Oh yes, and try and find a parking spot in Kendall Square!