Commuter Times from FLE to WAT (22nd August 2009)
How much time is commuting to my (still quite new) job taking out of my life? Time for a big data table!
|Thursday 30th July 2009|
|Outward||0745||0800||0910||0935||1:50||Walked from WAT.|
|Return||1740||1820||1915||1930||1:50||Walked to WAT.|
|Tuesday 4th August 2009|
|Outward||0715||0740||0830||0900||1:45||Walked from WAT to Tottenham Court Road.|
|Return||1805||1840||1930||1945||1:30||Walked to WAT to Tottenham Court Road.|
|Wednesday 5th August 2009|
|Outward||0715||0740||0830||0904||1:49||Bus 1 from WAT.|
|Return||1800||1841||1924||1950||1:50||Bus 1 to WAT. Kebab after FLE.|
|Thursday 6th August 2009|
|Outward||0738||0752||0838||0902||1:24||Forgot ticket. Bus from WAT to Russel Square.|
|Return||1745||1812||1930||1945||2:00||Bus 68 from Russel Square to WAT.|
|Monday 10th August 2009|
|Outward||0720||0752||0838||0920||2:00||Bus stopped in gridlock due to RTA. Began walking at 9am.|
|Return||1845||1939||2020||2029||1:44||Bus to WAT.|
|Tuesday 11th August 2009|
|Outward||0715||0739||0832||0954||1:29||Underground to WAT.|
|Return||1730||1740||1835||1850||1:20||Underground to WAT.|
|Wednesday 12th August 2009|
|Thursday 13th August 2009|
|Friday 14th August 2009|
|Outward||0732||0752||0915||0930||1:58||Power issues at WAT required change of trains at CLJ.|
|Return||0745||1812||1855||1920||1:35||Kebab after FLE.|
|Monday 17th August 2009|
|Tuesday 18th August 2009|
|Wednesday 19th August 2009|
|Return||1800||0841||2027||Long delay getting pizza due to schoolkids before us.|
|Thursday 20th August 2009|
|Friday 21st August 2009|
|Outward||0745||0809||0900||0920||1:35||No trains near 0750 today.|
|Return||1840||2112||2208||2215||1:35||Walked to end of road.|
|Monday 24th August 2009|
|Return||1845||1912||2000||Kebab after FLE.|
|Tuesday 25th August 2009|
|Wednesday 26th August 2009|
|Return||1800||0841||Missed ~18:10 from WAT.|
|Thursday 27th August 2009|
|Return||1830||1909||1957||Missed ~1840 from WAT.|
|Friday 28th August 2009|
|Return||1838||1909||2000||2030||1:52||Heavy rain briefly became hail! Kebab after FLE.|
For the record, I bought a new drinks bottle during lunch on Friday 28th August 2009 from the newsagents behind my workplace. I bought a pair of strawberry lip balms from Boots at WAT on my way home.
Method for Collecting the Data
Each day I have tried to log the key times of my outward journey and the return. Gaps are in the data are from immediate events taking precence over note-taking. Events such as:
- Jostling up endless stairs and escalators to Exit 3 from Tottenham Court Road Station.
- Putting on a coat to reduce the pace at which heavy London rain soaks me.
- Eating a kebab.
Anyway, I chose pen and paper for data collection due to the balance of:
- and free-form layout.
Analysis of my Commute
Largely derived from less than a month of personal experience but seemingly confirmed by the data above:
- Good journey times are nearly twice as fast as bad journey times.
- Using the London Underground is faster than walking or using busses.
- Overground trains with fewer stops can overtake earlier trains with more stops.
- Arriving very early at railways stations is an anti-pattern.
- Arriving a couple of minutes early at railway stations is the optimal balance of speed and comfort.
- Trains stop in stations for longer than you might think, so it is always worth running.
- Timed services deliberately avoid being early to ensure their availability for just-in-time commuters.
- Buses in Central London are generally not timed services; they operate continuously.
- It is reasonable for commuters to accomodate slight delays outside of their control.
- It is unreasonable for commuters to accomodate arbitrarily large delays outside of their control.
- My large and rugged coat is inadequate in strong rain. I have not tested an umbrella.
- Cardboard train tickets are inadequate in hands wet from even one instance of strong rain.
Technical Review of the Table
Rationalising the data so it can fit into the data models available in HTML meant some compromises. The careful prioritisation and clever optimisation to maximise the quality of the table was quite an interesting exercise, for me.
The above was my best effort and has these drawbacks:
- Started by only filling in a few days case I changed the format. (I did.)
- Right-aligned all the digits.
- Left-aligned the notes.
- Can only capture checkpoints for the various modes of transport I tried by adding several more columns, which would consist mostly of empty cells.
- Can only name the stations if I maked the Return rows read right-to-left.
- Spreading the data entry over several evenings has still left me goin to bed later than I wanted.
As such, quite a lot of useful data is absent or a bit weird.
On the other hand:
- Start and end times are present for each journey.
- Total time for each journey is present.
- All of the most most useful data and notes are present.
- Journeys can be compared directly.
- Notes ended up pleasantly compact.
- Notes provide interesting qualitive insights into the quantitive data.
- It is a regular and conventional data table.
- All header cells are identified.
- The markup is about as lightweight as HTML tables can be.
So, all things considered, I am satisified with this table.