My PQH Beats Your PQH Monday To Friday

Wellington electrified trolley bus on Lambton Quay, 25th May 2005
I have a theory ... care to hear it?
You will, sweet.

I take the bus into town on a fairly regular basis and I'm not alone in this endeavour. I mean I'm not alone on the bus, not just bus taking in general. Of course there is the driver but there are usually at least another half dozen fellow public bus passenger types, all staring intently out of the window endeavouring to avoid all possible human contact at any cost.

We bump along from bus stop to bus stop picking up more and more human avoiders. Unless we're on the 31 which stops just prior The Cutting (where the statues are going to go) before heading out at breakneck speed to our next port of call, stop 1 on Courtenay Place from which time on it's, "Sorry, this is an Express we don't pick up ... [wait for confusion on the part of the would-be-passenger to be expressed] Nah, mate, this is an express ... [plea to be let on] ... No, it's a 31, express, don't pick up ... [doors shut, we all look on as would-be-passenger shakes head and makes "I am very unimpressed by that!" look/gesture]. This can take twice as long as it would to merely accept the $4 and let the person on.

Anywho, the point is that there is, usually, a good healthy bus full of us Monday to Friday morning.

Along our jolly journey into town we often have to stop for cars turning, people crossing and even crazy people on bikes wanting to do something bike-ish.

The cars (maximum passenger carrying capacity, 5-6, normal utilisation, 1.5), the people (maximum capacity 1, normal utilisation 1) and bikes (maximum capacity, 4 - I've seen it done - normal utilisation, 1) have the same priority on the highway as do we (maximum capacity, 40 or so, normal utilisation, 40 or so but never normally less than 15).

Now, let's make a start on the theory.

A vehicle can be said to have the median of the "must get there on time" stress level (MGTOT-SL) of all the passengers.

Let's give MGTOT-SL a range 0 to 10, where 0 is "I'm not even sure where I'm going so I don't care if I get there" to 10 which is, "If I don't arrive thousands will die and the survivors will want to have died"

Get the median MGTOT-SL for the vehicle and you see where this is going ...

Whilst the chances of a car (or bike or pedestrian) having a higher MGTOT-SL than a bus is slim they still get to jolly around in their vehicle of choice* enjoying the same privileges as the bus. Of course one car/bike/pedestrian may have a higher MGTOT-SL if, say, it's one person waiting to cross the road for their final job interview against a bus loaded to the gunnels with aged foreigners on a tour of New Zealand.

But it's not just about MGTOT-SL, if a mildly relaxed bunch in a bus are further away than a slightly stressed pedestrian that's only yards away from their destination then the pedestrian probably takes precedent - make sense?

[pee break ... this posting is turning out much deeper than I'd originally anticipated but I'm loving where it's taking us all ... see you in a few minutes]

Right, theory time. Let's use our old pal from our school days of chalk and gym knickers, algebra, to try and come up with a much fairer (to me) system.

My proof is as follows:

PQH = ((SA + MGTOT-SL) * (60 - EAC) * G ) - SA
  • PQH = Priority on Queen's Highway
  • SA = Souls Affected
  • MGTOT-SL = median "must get their on time" stress level
  • EAC = Estimated Arrival (at final destination)
    Count in say, imperial minutes, maximum value 59 - anything over that and they just lose!
  • G = "Get out of my way sonny!" weighting, standard is 1 - the Queen has an unequaled value of 1.5
The higher the PQH the better for you.

As you can see this is a dynamic theory that can only work when we know all the variables which, until the hidden plans of Apple + Google + Our Government take affect, we can't.

We have to make assumptions, which is fine as we make assumptions along these lines already, traffic into town is deemed more important at certain times of the day (early morning) than traffic crossing it. The assumption is that people are driving into work for a deadline (8:30am start of work) whilst those crossing are merely out for a joy ride and should know better.

Perhaps some sort of table of assumptions could be created by a team of accountant types covering all known situations - median MGTOT-SL of a bus from Johnsonville on a weekday morning, standard airport rate of SA during daylight saving, highest EAC to be expected at nominated spots along popular routes during public holidays (and published as a layer for Google Earth). You get the picture, tables and tables of numbers that excite and allure those with quills, hump backs and a slightly wan complexion.

But all of that hard work only gives one number - the PQH of a vehicle.
Ah, but then it's merely "my PQH versus your PQH" and right of way is given. It could (should) become international law to display an up-to-the-minute PQH for every licenced vehicle - pedestrians may be more difficult but once Apple+Google have the equipment and software plugged into everyone's ears we should be OK.

Does it work ... let's give it a whirl with three examples ...

Example 1
One slightly important person (A) with an average stress level has to be somewhere in 10 minutes gets right of aty over a slightly lesser of a person (B) with the same stress levels and a same 10 minute appointment.

A: ((1 + 5)*(60-10) * 1.5) - 1) = 449
B: (1 + 5)*(60-10) * 1) - 1) = 299

Example 2
If we assume the same situation however 'B' has only 2 minutes to get where they need to be and is feeling the stress:

A: ((1 + 5)*(60-10) * 1.5) - 1) = 449
B: (1 + 9)*(60-2) * 1) - 1) = 579

Example 3
Okay, let's do a bus full of ontime commuters (A) with a moderate bus stress meeting a tourist of two (B) meandering around town as well as a highly stressed and very late cyclist (C):

A: ((20 + 6)*(60-20) * 1) - 1) = 1020
B: (2 + 2)*(60-40) * 1) - 1) = 78
C: ((1 + 9)*(60-2) * 1) - 1) = 579

Bus full of people get priority but the tourists must get out of the way of the cyclist!

But this is all still just a theory that demands the rigour of peer review and probably some sort of scientific rebuttal from those in the know. Perhaps their are journals relating to this area of expertise that I should get published within, professors that I should contact or . Or maybe I've just come up with the Theory of Everything, it makes about as much sense to me as the many string theories do.

So, let's start with peer review - grab yaself a pencil and see if you can devise some situations that break the formula.

Let us all know how it works (or fails) by leaving a comment.

* there is no such thing as "choice" as it's all an illusion - Jason/Che told me and I have no choice but to accept :-)


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