Late October


One of the annoying things about my bike ride to work is the frequency of the stops along the way, which can often make a six mile ride take upwards of 30 minutes one way. My suspicion was that a significant amount of time was spent at the Moffet & Central intersection right where the Mountain View Caltrain station was, but since I had the Strava data from a couple posts ago, I decided to take a closer at where the time was actually going.

To get an approximation of the stopping intersections along a ride, you can take advantage of the fact that Strava slows down the recording of waypoints as the device stops moving (or in other words, the time between subsequent waypoints increases while stopped). And at those stops, you can find the time spent there by taking the time difference between the next moving waypoint and the last moving waypoint at some threshold distance. From this, the data suggested that I had to stop an average of 23.4 times for a total of 7 minutes 10 seconds per commute, which is almost 25% of my total commute time!

To break that down even more, you can take the approximate intersection waypoints and cross reference them with the closest actual streets (using the Geonames API) and find out exactly how much time you are cumulatively spending at each intersection. Here are the top 15 intersections along my commute to work for example:

IntersectionTime spent waiting
Castro St & W El Camino Real 4 hours 27 minutes
California St & Castro St 4 hours 24 minutes
Central Expy & Moffett Blvd 3 hours 41 minutes
Charleston Rd & Huff Ave 3 hours 31 minutes
N Shoreline Blvd & Pear Ave 3 hours 12 minutes
Cuesta Dr & Lassen St 2 hours 51 minutes
Moffett Blvd & W Middlefield Rd 2 hours 34 minutes
Cuesta Dr & Miramonte Ave 1 hours 38 minutes
Cuesta Dr & S El Monte Ave 1 hours 31 minutes
Moffett Blvd & W Valley Fwy 1 hours 4 minutes
Castro St & Villa St 1 hour
Castro St & Miramonte Ave 58 minutes
Cuesta Dr & Tyndall St 51 minutes
Central Ave & Moffett Blvd 51 minutes
Castro St & W Evelyn Ave 47 minutes

Surprisingly, the longest time waiting isn't actually at Moffet & Central Expressway but rather at the other end of downtown Mountain View at the intersection of Castro & El Camino Real. And I believe it, that intersection also has a long wait since El Camino is such a high-traffic thoroughfare for the peninsula.

Castro and El Camino Real, the intersection where I spent most of my time on my commute
Castro & El Camino Real, the longest intersection wait time of my commute.

As a side note, if I were to sum up all the time spent at each intersection, it would be approximately 42 hours 24 minutes – that's almost two whole days spent just waiting for the cars to pass!


Ah, the memories of MIDI

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Auto-complete Bash history using arrow keys (probably the best Bash tip I know)


Remember and Big Shiny Tunes and Much Dance? Good times.

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Don't say Disney won't go to great lengths to optimize their animatronics...

Like horse racing but for nerds and biologists, Genetic Cars.

Monterey 2013 (4)
Monterey 2013 (4)