Why buses bunch at single stops

Posted to Infographics  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Maybe you’ve waited at a bus stop for longer than usual, and your bus finally shows up. And then, immediately after, a second bus on the same route pulls up right behind. What gives? Why can’t they stay evenly spaced to improve everyone’s waiting time? Lewis Lehe provides an explanation in a small interactive game.

Two buses travel along the same route, starting off in opposite positions. They make stops and pick up passengers right on schedule. But then add in your own small delays, and you see bunching relatively quickly. It really doesn’t take much to throw off the equal spacing.

So the next time you find yourself in a bunching situation. Don’t hate the driver. Hate the system.

See also Lehe’s other interactive explainers on traffic gridlock and congestion. Lehe, by the way, is a PhD candidate in transportation engineering.

Favorites

Divorce Rates for Different Groups

We know when people usually get married. We know who never marries. Finally, it’s time to look at the other side: divorce and remarriage.

Famous Movie Quotes as Charts

In celebration of their 100-year anniversary, the American Film Institute selected the 100 most memorable quotes from American cinema, and …

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs

For various occupations, the difference between the person who makes the most and the one who makes the least can be significant.