A report by Paul J. Tranter
School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, UNSW@ADFA, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Australian Greenhouse Office, Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
- Download Effective Speeds: Car Costs are Slowing us Down
(effectivespeeds.pdf - 264 KB)
Formula One racing teams spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year so that their drivers can travel at very high speeds for a very short time. If these teams want to be competitive, they have no choice but to devote huge amounts of time and money to their cars. But is this strategy a sensible one when applied to everyday transport? Is it worth investing hundreds of hours per year to pay for a mode of transport that might save only half of that in travel time? We can help answer this question by considering the concept of 'effective speed', where speed is calculated on the basis of the total amount of time consumed by a particular mode of transport. Applying this concept of 'effective speed' provides some surprising results in the comparison of cars, bicycles and public transport.