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Route optimization

Topics/tags: Those wacky Rebelskys, short

Did you know that the fastest driving route from the Rebelsky driveway to the Grinnell Natatorium involves going east on 7th, north on Broad, east on 8th, north on Park, and then east on 10th? I do. Why do I know? Because my children, like me, make it a habit to conceptualize the various possibilities for getting from place A to place B and then try to figure out the optimal route. Sometimes that route changes. For example, if a light turns red when we are heading north on IA-146, it’s often more efficient to take a right turn and then go up Main than it is to wait for the light, particularly given that the lights on 146 are not synchronized.

What factors go into the optimization? Stop signs. Lights. Expected traffic. Turns. Things like that.

I’ll admit that my children take a somewhat different approach than I do. Like me, they consider the possibilities and form a hypothesis as to the optimal route. Unlike me, they also gather empirical evidence. So they know [1] the routes that would save them a minute each day.

They are also better at other kinds of route optimization. Given multiple buses, they can optimize based not only on the likely time on each bus route and the time to the stop, but also based on how quickly each bus is to arrive after the current time.

Is it strange that I value this habit? Is it strange that I’m proud of how well my sons have developed the habit? I guess it’s just another characteristic of those wacky Rebelskys.

Postscript: There were times when my mother-in-law gave me directions that I would swear that she optimized her routes so that they involved as many stop signs as possible.

[1] Knew?

Version 1.0 released 2019-12-07.

Version 1.0.1 of 2019-12-28.