Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Yet another commuter race

It looks like another commuter race is coming up on May 14th. This time a driver, a cyclist and a T-rider will compete during the morning rush on the fastest way to get from the Davis Square in Somerville to Kendall Square in Cambridge. The route is about 5.5km long (3.5mi) and looks like this:
Google Maps claims that driving it should take 14 minutes and you will need 21 minutes if you plan on using public transportation or your bicycle. We will see who is going to win and why it is going to be the cyclist again.
I wrote about such commuter races before. Since the distance is so short and the race will happen during the morning rush traffic the result is very predictable. It is likely that the car (potentially the fastest) will get stuck in traffic and get there second or last, after the cyclists and maybe even the T (Boston's subway system). I hope that I am wrong and test results will not be that obvious. It would be interesting to see a different outcome for a change.

What is such race supposed to prove? That it is faster and easier to bike than drive in the city? I don't think that we have to preach to the converted. Most sane people realize that driving in the very downtown is mostly a nightmare, not pleasure. What I really would like to see is a race somewhere in more suburban environment where T trains are nonexistent and there are only 3 choices left: a car, a bike and a bus. The result would apply much more to everyday situation of most of Americans. It could show that public transportation network is inadequate and if you don't have your own car you are pretty much stuck.


  1. That is pretty much my situation - but I have found a way around it. The bus near me is doesn't run on a schedule I can use, so I do drive part of my commute, but once I get just inside the city, I switch to the bike - I keep a fold up bike in my trunk. It is much faster than on days when I have to drive, and parking is cheaper further from the office too.

  2. In Portland, ME I ride to work every day. My supervisor drives from near my house. We often meet up at the same intersection 2.5 mi from work. I get there first every time on my 21sp schwinn commuter. If I plant someone on the bus I think I have the race you described. I'll let you know how it turns out.