For short distances, speeding simply doesn’t make sense. Going 20% faster might feel like a big deal, but arriving 20% early on a trip that takes 15 minutes; that’s only three minutes.

Consider these times to reach my dojo, which is about 3 miles away

  • Walking: 45 minutes
  • Running: 25 minutes
  • Biking: 15 minutes
  • Driving: 10 minute

One reason is that the faster methods are so similar is that a surprisingly large amount of time is spent waiting for traffic lights to turn — even for the running, it’s probably 3-4 minutes

I think one has to put down a fairly convincing argument to use a car rather than a bicycle just to save 5 minutes. I can even make the argument for running and walking rather than using a bicycle. After all what’s the hurry?

Of course, here I’m not considering the time spent on paying for and maintaining the cars, bikes, and shoes respectively.

Suppose we make 10 such trips weekly, 50 weeks a year, that’s 500 trips a year. This will take

  • Walking: 22500 minutes
  • Running: 12500 minutes
  • Biking: 7500 minutes
  • Driving: 5000 minutes

According to government statistics, the average person spends 20% of his income on transportation which for all intents and purposes is driving. The average person also works 2000 hours or 120000 minutes a year. 20% of that is 24000 minutes. A bike can be had for $50 and up, so that’s about 300 minutes, but let’s say 1000 minutes a year — I think that’s quite conservative considering how long a bicycle lasts. With daily rides you’ll have a flat every third month or so and those will take 15 minutes to fix, so that’s an hour a year. That makes it 1060 minutes. Shoe soles are about $40 a year if walking and twice for running, maybe 250 or 500 minutes to pay for that. Hence we get the following numbers

  • Walking: 22750 minutes
  • Running: 13000 minutes
  • Biking: 8560 minutes
  • Driving: 29000 minutes

Hence, I will keep riding my bike and otherwise run or walk if I feel too tired to run. It is interesting to note that driving a car is almost as economically efficient (time is money) as just putting your shoes on and starting to walk.

Originally posted 2009-04-05 12:41:00.