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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Fuzzy Math

I am going to try to make this a regular feature of my blog and I will call it Fuzzy Math in honor of one of my least favorite politicians, Al Bore.

The inaugural post is about Amtrak which is undergoing its annual budget battle. Some would like to cut and some would like to increase the budget. I don't have an opinion but all the pundits have been pitching in their two cents including Mark Schweiker, the former governor of Pennsylvania and current head of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Schweiker wrote an OPED piece in the Philly Inquirer in suport of Amtrak. One of his arguments was that Amtrak carries 12 million riders each year on its Boston-Washington DC corridor and the public certainly woud not want those riders in cars as it would further clog the roads.

Now, I like to analyze numbers so I did. Using Schweiker's own figure of 12 million, I estimated that averages to 33,000 riders per day. It's 440 miles from Boston to DC. SO.....DRUM ROLL PLEASE....that's a miniscule additional 75 cars per day per mile or 3 more cars per hour per mile.Therefore, the public would likely never even notice the added traffic if Amtrak closed.

Here is a summary of my calculation (12,000,000 riders per year / 365 days = 32,876 riders per day / 440 miles = 75 cars per mile / 24 hours = 3 added cars per hour per mile).

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