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Contact:

I'm LinkedIn and Google-Plussed.

Mail and packages, use maildrop:
Norman Sperling
2625 Alcatraz Avenue #235
Berkeley, CA 94705-2702

cellphone 650 - 200 - 9211
eMail normsperling [at] gmail.com

Norm Sperling’s Great Science Trek: 2014

San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
Palm Springs
Death Valley
Tucson
El Paso
Corpus Christi
Baton Rouge
Tampa
Everglades
Key West
Winter Star Party, Scout Key
Miami

MARCH 2014:
up the Eastern seaboard
mid-South

APRIL 2014:
near I-40, I-30, and I-20 westbound

MAY 2014:
near US-101 northbound
May 17-18: Maker Faire, San Mateo
May 23-26: BayCon, Santa Clara

California till midJune

JUNE 2014:
Pacific Northwest

JULY 2014:
Western Canada, eastbound

AUGUST 2014:
near the US/Can border, westbound
August 22-on: UC Berkeley

Speaking engagements welcome!
2014 and 2015 itineraries will probably cross several times.

Skipping Transit Stops

© Norman Sperling, November 29, 2010

Transit ridership soars when the ride speeds up. Here on the peninsula south of San Francisco, CalTrain's "Baby Bullet" doesn't actually go faster than other trains, but it does skip a lot of stops, including the slowing down for them. Ridership is up importantly because it's so fast. It's the preferred transit ... even though it's not cheap, and the San Francisco terminal isn't particularly close to all the sky-scrapers.

The speeding up comes from skipping stops. How about EVERY rush-hour train skipping every other station? First send an "Odds" train that only stops at odd-numbered stations, then an "Evens" train. Every station gets served, and all the trains get to the other end much faster.

Only a few riders go to destinations right next to a station. Most go several blocks away, many a lot farther. At such distances, each destination might be adequately served by 2 or even 3 stations. For riders farther from the tracks, choosing stations depends on taste and parking lots more than economics or speed. For riders connecting to bus routes, there are often close alternatives from several nearby train stops.

Make an app to tell which station is served at which time, so people can pick their train by optimizing either departure or destination. Online data mashups can advise which station to go to, because sensors can report exactly where the trains are in real time, predict arrival times downline, and can also tell (from road sensors) which local streets to the stations are easy or hard to drive through.

Passengers getting personal pickups would have plenty of time to cell-phone their rides to say which station they'll reach, at what time.

CalTrain is strictly linear. But "odds-only" and "evens-only" trains or buses should also speed up sprawling and branching systems. Make apps for them, too. In most cities' networks, transit lines cross multiple times, so passengers could have their pick of transfer stations, to optimize arrival station and time. Online mashups can help passengers pick their best stations and transfers.

The Journal of Irreproducible Results
This Book Warps Space and Time
What Your Astronomy Textbook Won't Tell You

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