Thursday, March 20, 2008

Homeward Bound Commuting Times

(click for larger picture)

For well over the past year, I have been documenting the time I leave
work and the time I get home. I started doing this when I got fed up
with the apparent randomness of traffic patterns. It seemed one day I
got home fast, the next it took me well over an hour. I couldn't see
any pattern and was frustrated.

So I decided to stsrt actually tracking the time it took me to get home
each day to see if I could find any pattern to the madness. I'm happy
to report that there is indeed some generalities that can be gleaned
from all this great data.

I can tell you that it's easiest to go home on Tuesdays. My trips home
on Tuesdays average 53 minutes: shortest trip was 39 minutes (ironically
it was during an ice storm), and the longest Tuesday trip was 71
minutes. I have a chart that I'll try to add soon, as it's pretty

For six months, the worst day to drive home was actually Thursday by a
wide margin, but over the past year, Friday has established itself as
the worst traffic day to go home. Luckily, I only work every other
Friday, so I miss it half the time. This is probably also why Thursday
held the title of "worst traffic day" for a while.

My average trip home on Friday is 77 minutes, fully 24 minutes longer
than on Tuesdays. Not only that, the range of travel times is very
wide: shortest trip was 43 minutes, longest trip 113 minutes.

This infomration is good for me to have, because I can now resign myself
to a trip home of about a certain length of time. If I know I need to
be home at a certain time, I can leave at an appropriate time to get

I have set up my spreadsheet to figure the standard deviation as well,
which I think means that on Tuesdays, the standard deviation is 7.25
minutes, I can be about 70% certain that I'll get home in 53 minutes,
give or take 7.25 minutes.

Knowing I'll be in traffic for about a certain length of time on a
particular day of the week helps reduce my stress level about needing to
get home faster.

Well, this is a tiny picture, I'll try to make them bigger in the future.

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