Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Why Faster Trains Could Mean a Longer Commute

BigTubeTrain1.jpg

Now we're not sure you're going to believe us, but this is science.

Despite Crossrail being hailed as the solution to all of London's transport problems, with it's high-speed linking of east and west London right through the middle, it appears that it could actually make everyone's commute even longer. Hard to imagine, we know. But it's true.

The theory is that within an interconnected city transport system, you cannot simply look at one aspect - trains, cars, bicycles - in isolation, as changing one variable may inadvertently change another. For example, if the speed of the rail network increases, more people will use it - but those people may still have to drive to the station, and if the road around the station is not of sufficient capacity, then congestion could cause delays that last longer than the saved time from the quicker rail journey.

Marc Barthelemy of the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission in Gif-sur-Yvette explained, "We’ve used mathematical tools from network theory to study transportation networks for a long time, but mainly looking at one mode of transport in isolation. That’s not enough. Changing one network can have an effect on the congestion of the others.”

Barthelemy and his colleagues simulated changes of the road, subway and tube networks in London and New York City and found that the ratio between average road and rail speeds is the crucial factor.

He explained, “If you want to give more access to more people, then increasing the speed of the subway is not the best solution. Increasing the number of train stations is often better. New York City is an exception, however: congestion here is so bad that speeding up trains does help."

So, while Crossrail may cut rail times, it could be outweighed by greater congestion at the outskirts. In effect, you're simply trying to cram too many baked beans into a too-small container.

And what happens then is baked beans everywhere. Yes, we're pretty sure that's the right analogy, isn't it?

[via New Scientist]

(Images: Rex)

Related

boris1.jpg

The Night Tube Isn't Going to Start Until March 2016

travel3.jpg

These architects want to replace Underground trains with a travelator

3ksx3.jpg

14 Signs That Show The Tube Has A Sense Of Humour Afterall

Comments

More

This might be the greatest Rocket League goal ever scored

They think it's all Rover

by Gary Ogden
20 Feb 2017

Crash Bandicoot: the greatest game I ever played

As its PS4 return is announced, one writer salutes one of the best platformers of them all

by Ryan Young
17 Feb 2017

TFL has been tracking you on the tube and the data is fascinating

Catnip for the tube heads

by Dave Fawbert
15 Feb 2017

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

14 Feb 2017

The Nokia 3310 is getting a relaunch (yes, really)

The return of the King

by Gary Ogden
14 Feb 2017

The new iPhone looks like it's going to have wireless charging

A huge move from Apple

by Dave Fawbert
13 Feb 2017

Things no one wants to hear on social media

We need to establish some house rules

by David Cornish
10 Feb 2017

Finding those hidden Netflix codes just became much easier

This could be a game-changer

08 Feb 2017

This artist turned the Apple T&Cs into a really cool graphic novel

We've never wanted to read a contract more!

by Sam Diss
07 Feb 2017

Francis Ford Coppola wants you to crowdfund an Apocalypse Now game

And it looks like it could be very disturbing indeed

by Jamie Carson
26 Jan 2017