What’s the Most Efficient Way to Travel?

Hilary Moon Murphy of Minneapolis writes,

Tyler, I keep hearing different styles of transportation touted as the “most efficient.” What is the most efficient way to travel?

Most efficient can mean many things, depending on what you want to optimize your use of. Time, fuel, patience, argumentation about the route, etc. As an example of these tradeoffs, riding the bus saves fuel, but it can be inefficient if your idea of efficiency involves losing as few digits to frostbite as possible. The multivariate optimization chart below shows this (the blue near the middle represents frostbite damage).

Multivariate analysis proves that you can't have it all.

One means of transportation that tends to maximize most of these factors, is already being wherever it is you want to go. I work from home, for instance, and that makes for an optimal commute to my job. So if you go somewhere, and you think you might want to go there again, wait there until this occurs, and you’ve saved yourself two trips. This is why it’s important, whenever you go anywhere, to bring a book or something else to occupy yourself with.

Time travel can save trips to the supermarket.

A time machine is also useful for avoiding driving. When you go to the grocery store, bring along all the shopping lists you find on your counter. Do all the shopping at once, and haul it all home (in separate bags labeled with the date copied from the list). Now, for the next several months, rather than driving to the store you just have to pop back in time with a list, leave it on the counter, jump ahead a couple hours, grab your groceries, and return to base. Saves fuel, saves time!

NOTE: It’s advisable to jump back to leave your lists, rather than forward, to avoid the strong temptation to cause paradoxes by skipping the shopping. After all, you already ate all those groceries.


1 comment

    • Gerson on 15 April 2015 at 9:19 pm

    I Need to find out an example of which is the most efficient way of traveling, and time machines are not helping. If I write that on my paper I’ll get a straight U or F.

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