Friday, May 21, 2010

microoptimizing my driving

in the big picture, cambridge is something like 4 miles wide from end to end so there's no need to optimize driving distance at all. but a few routes have bothered me because i drive them several times a week, and because of the nonperpendicular streets there's always a feeling that i'm driving farther from my destination than an alternate route would be.

so i looked up two driving directions from my house: to Home Depot, and to CW Taekwondo. In both cases I always feel like there's a more direct road somewhere that I don't know about. Sure, driving on the major roads might be slightly faster or hit fewer red lights, but just out of curiosity, i had to see if i was actually driving farther away by going down third.

first, to CW taekwondo from my house. There's a street called Binney St which is kind of unavoidable because you always hit it coming toward MIT, and there is a median so you can't turn left coming either direction earlier if you wanted to. fortunately it looks like 3rd street actually curves toward MIT and CW, and going up broadway will actually take you farther from Central. Google maps does magic. The total mileage to CW: 1.7 miles. It's the same route I always use.

Then, since I've been doing a lot of home depot runs, there are two ways that seem kind of roundabout, but one feels shorter so i've been taking it. It's annoying because route 28 and I93 border a big industrial area that you can't drive through so you have to drive all the way around to get to Home Depot. One route went through medford and seems to take a bigger loop, and my route takes an earlier right on Washington. But Google maps is telling me that both ways are exactly 2.5 miles, which is what my odometer told me. But, I did discover a new one that backtracks in the beginning but is only 2.4 miles long, but 1 minute longer to drive.

but like i said, in the big picture though, nothing really changes whether I save that .1 miles or not. it's just an exercise in OCD behavior.

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