GPS route optimizer

My type-A personality never lets me stop trying to optimize everything in my life. Recently, I’ve started taking data on my commute to work: time of departure and time of arrival versus a number of different routes. This is endlessly amusing to houseguests, and a point of constant annoyance to Christy (who typically records the data while I drive; I record it myself when I bike to work). The result of all this data would be a 2-D color map that could give me an estimate of the shortest route depending on the time I was leaving. However, on further thought, I realized such a chart would only tell me about routes I already knew and would be very sensitive to my route ordering. For example, if there are three ways to get to work, how do I order them? By length? By number of turns? By my perceived annoyance of that particular route? I then got to thinking of taking time measurements between each possible node in a route. Those segments could then be built into routes I’ve never explored before. You can just imagine the look Christy gave me when I suggested this. Clearly, this is best done by a computer. So the question: has anyone seen anything like this, or a GPS unit hackable enough to permit this without carrying a laptop as well (I’d like to do this on bike, too)? Wouldn’t the final version of this be sweet?! You tell it where you’re going, and based on past experience, the time of day, and real-time traffic data it suggests the optimal route. (I’ve seen GPS + real-time traffic, but my guess is that traffic data isn’t nearly as useful as past experience data.) To everyone that can relax while commuting and not worry about 16 versus 17 minutes: I envy you.

Picture of GPS route optimizer
Remmar Gorpa10 years ago
A company I used to work for had www.trafficdodger.com . The pilot site was only set up for LA, it harvested live traffic data and after accumulating several weeks worth for predictive modeling, created optimal routes around future traffic. No GPS was used, the user simply entered time of departure, start and finish. The site is now dead but you can still read up on it.
Don't know how it works out in the east bay, but in the city the best routes are often determined by bike lanes, share lanes, and hills. For me it's all about a good route where I have the lest worries of some car killing me. I think it's justified paranoia and it's workd for seven years so far. 16 vs. 17 minutes? Who cares. What different weights do you give to perceived danger, steep climbs, and aesthetics of each route? Those are my main concerns and I always have some mental balancing act in my head for whenever I ride.
Good point. Although 40 vs. 3 minutes is a difference, +/- 15% would seem reasonable. You could probably have some friends to drive along the roads and give them a safety rating of 1-10, as well as yourself, to quantify that amount.