29 September 2011

Bus clustering

It is a common problem that buses will cluster into groups after a while. The reason being that buses ahead will slow down, since they pick up the first batch of passenger, which tend to be a larger group. Buses behind will spend less time picking up passengers since they were already picked up earlier.

A way that some countries have avoided this problem is by having bus drivers compete for passengers. Therefore, it would be in their best interests to space out the buses such that they pick up the maximal amount of passengers each time.

Some more details on this solution here:


What do you think about human clustering, in particular, (a) human geolocal clustering, and (b) human mental clustering? That is, how do you solve a situation when people all go to a certain place at a certain time such as during rush hour commutes, or people all thinking about a certain concept at a certain time, such as everyone wanting to buy an iPhone?
a) I think human geolocal clustering is the easier problem to solve. Since we are limited in how densely we can pack people in certain places, this tends balance out in practice. The people who are at a crowded place will find the value of what they want to achieve there to be greater than the unpleasantness they feel. One possible reason why humans cluster physically is because they could be thinking of the same thoughts, which leads to your second point.

b) Since there is no physical limitation in thoughts, this is much harder to solve. One possible solution is to encourage awareness and competition, so that people are aware of other ideas worth thinking about.
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