Slower Trains Might Get London's Commuters to Work Quicker

By Gary Cutlack on at

Congestion built up around stations where commuters switch from cars to trains would be lessened if the speed of trains was lowered say some statisticians, who suggest that a slower average speed across London's Underground might actually get everyone to work quicker.

The problem arises on the outskirts, where drivers dump their cars to switch to trains. The mathematical model put forward by academics published by the Royal Society claims that slowing the speed of trains might encourage drivers to spread out their commutes a little more evenly rather than heading to the easiest station en masse, working to change the natural human impulse to seek out what appears to be the quickest route.

The team suggests that the London Underground's current average speed of 21mph should be reduced to 13mph, in order to create more equilibrium between overground and underground transit speeds and lessen unseemly crunches on the road and at key stations.

The paper's author Dr Marc Barthelemy told the BBC: "Giving exact numbers is a tricky thing. But the fact is that these networks are coupled to each other. Optimising something on one network can bring bad things on another network." [BBC]

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