I've got a long commute into work on a daily basis. That commute gives me a lot of time to sit alone in my car and contemplate the fact that I have a long commute.
In the middle of the night I can drive it in 45 minutes, but with traffic it's never under an hour, often 1.5 or more. I've noticed that very small variations in when I leave, even just 10 or 15 minutes one way or another, can really make a huge impact. But it's not a sure thing. Some days leaving at 7:45 is the best, some days it's 8:00. I don't know why it differs.
It's my belief there are certain patterns that might take into account things like weather, day of the week, departure time, school vacations, and a bunch of other variables. But I don't have a good way to that figure that out since I'm lacking the data.
Which brings me to my latest mini-project. I'm writing some mobile software for my phone, plus a website that will help to record my daily commute and visualize what's happening. Eventually, I hope to bring in some statisitical models to help predict my average commute time based on when I leave the house.
- Phase 1: Start collecting data on my phone
- Phase 2: Collect the data on a website.
- Phase 3: Visualize the data.
- Phase 4: Make predictions based on a single user's data.
- Phase 5: Collate multiple users who commute in the same area to improve #3 and #4
- Tomorrow, what reasonable time should I get out of the house for the shortest commute?
- I'm running late, should I work from home for an hour or head straight in to avoid some traffic?
- What week is the worst traffic-wise of the year? (And hence, what week should I favor for planning a vacation)
- What's my fastest commute time? Did I break that record today?
Any other commuters out there be interested in something like this?
P.S. "Long commute" is a very relative term. A half hour might be long for some people, and a 3 hour commute might be long for others.