January 18, 2007

Simultaneous Acceleration


So, a few weeks ago, Justin made a comment as to why when he's sitting in the tenth position at a stoplight does it take him 30 seconds to start moving after the light turns green. The answer, obviously, is that we can't start accelerating before the person in front of us already has begun. After weeks of near constant deliberation on this, I think I may have a solution. What if we didn't pull up 6 in. from the bumper of the car in front of us at every light? When we do this, we don't start accelerating until the car in front of us is about a car length in front of us, and by this time they're going 15-20 mph as to our 0. So, in a few seconds, they're about 3-4 car lengths ahead of us before we can catch up to their speed. However, if we pulled up to a light, leaving at least a car length in between the car in front of us, we could accelerate at the same time and speed as the car in front of us. So, the car length that we give up at the beginning is actually better than the 3-4 we regularly lose. Could this work? Give it a try today and see. Then, we'll figure out how to tip it.

4 comments:

Brent said...

This will not work.

The distance you want to keep between yourself and the car in front of you is proportional to the rate you are traveling

Even if you start far enough behind such that you could accelerate immediately to the speed you want, your position is still limited by the first car in the line, so you save no time (you just burn more gas by accelerating more quickly which is less efficient).

Sabai said...

Yes, obviously. The question is, if tipped (everyone participating), would this work?

Brent said...

I guess I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve then...

Sure, if you could get people to spread farther apart, you could accelerate sooner, but you still wouldn't get anywhere faster...

Sabai said...

wouldn't you get more cars through each light change?