You look at your watch. You look at the bus schedule. You look down the street. The bus that will take you half way across downtown should arrive in another 15 minutes. So do you wait for it, or start walking?
The answer might depend on the weather and what shoes you wore, or maybe you’re looking for a mathematically-defensible solution. If the latter’s the case, we at Sightline can help! Operating under the premise that there’s no query too small to calculate and then graph, we bring you “Walk or Bus?” from Visualmotive.
This cool little chart requires that you know or guess at how far you’re traveling, then lets you figure out which mode of transportation will be faster depending on when the bus is coming.
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Say you’re taking a 1 mile trip. If the bus is within 15 minutes away, wait for it—unless you’re a super speedy walker (the analysis assumes you walk a 20 minute mile, and that the bus is traveling 15 mph). Beyond that, walking will get you to your destination faster.
For other efficiency-boosting strategies (mostly of the technology type), check out the website lifehacker, where we found the bus/walk chart.
And if you’re in the Seattle metro area and want to know if your bus is actually on schedule, you can check out this Metro site and find out.
You’re presenting this as an awfully binary decision, walk or wait.In general there is a very useful third option, particularly if part of your goal is exercise: walk to the next stop and re-evaluate the choice.Couple that with real-time transit arrival info like we have in Portland and you’re never going to stand at a transit stop for more than a couple of minutes (i.e., you only wait if the bus is so close that it would pass your before you can walk to the next stop).
Rob Harrison AIA
Or, you could look up when the next bus will arrive on onebusaway.orgReal time arrivals for Metro buses in Seattle. There is an iPhone app, but any phone that can access the web can use it. By removing the uncertainty of when the next bus will come it makes riding the bus an easy choice.
The onebusaway iPhone app has litterally changed my life.I can just look at it, and tell my friends “the 49 will be coming over the hill right now”. It hasn’t been wrong yet.
Why is it that everyone seems to assume that there are 17 blocks to a mile? It doesn’t make sense. All of Oregon and Washington were platted based off of the same baseline and meridian, and most of the time there are exactly 20 blocks to the mile. This is true in both Portland and Seattle. It makes it very easy for distance calculations, especially since it takes one minute to walk a block.
20 blocks? That is good to know! All my life, I’ve been going by my native-Nebraskan calculations of 12 blocks to the mile. Never bothered to check if it was the same for other states!Another thing to take into consideration for time calculations, when walking, is the time spent waiting for traffic lights to change…
Your figures are off in your example. You forgot to calculate how long it will take the bus to go from the first stop to the final one. With at least 10 stops along the way, I doubt it could do it in 5 minutes, which makes walking the winner by a hair.And, oh yes, the walk provides exercise and more of a chance to enjoy the sights.Chris@Ottawalk