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Dull Race 2012

A new Olympic event in keeping with London's congestion problem
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(+8, -1)
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Central London is becoming increasingly gridlocked with traffic.

In 2012, London will host the Olympics.

I say we combine these two facts to create a new Olympic event.

Competitors are given identical lightweight pedal-powered 'cars' (to keep the greens happy), and all start from just inside the M25 at its western-most point. The finish line is just inside the M25 at its eastern-most point. No communication with the outside world is allowed during the 'race', neither is SatNav, and the most important rule is that the vehicle must never come to a complete halt. Accelerometers (sorry, this is apparently the wrong name - what I mean is some sort of device that can tell if the vehicle stops moving) are fitted to the vehicles, and if the vehicle becomes stationary at any point during the event, a device connected to the *accelerometer* disables the vehicle, and the competitor is out of the competition.

If a competitor encounters traffic and sees that they are about to become stationary, they are allowed to do anything in their power to continue moving, as long as they do not interfere with other road users. Admittedly, this mainly entails driving *really* slowly when approaching a traffic jam, in the hope that the jam clears before the competitor reaches it.

There is no set route, but competitors must obey the law of the land and the Highway Code at all times (an untamperable GPS device ensures that if the competitor breaks the speed limit on that stretch of road, they are out of the competition).

The winner is the first one past the finish line.

jtp, Nov 19 2009

Gridlock http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1000253/
Recent(ish) Dr. Who episode involving the ultimate traffic jam.
Some cities are getting close to this, at 'rush' hour at least... [neutrinos_shadow, Nov 19 2009]

Davis Deadly Dash http://daviswiki.org/Deadly_Davis_Dash
[swimswim, Nov 19 2009]

Top Gear Challenge http://www.bbc.co.u...re_challenges&id=95
Quickest way to cross London from West to East. Probably only viewable from the UK. [DrBob, Nov 19 2009]

[link]






       are you in london, jtp?
po, Nov 19 2009
  

       How does the accelerometer tell the difference between a stationary car and one traveling at constant velocity?
shudderprose, Nov 19 2009
  

       Only having a one minute penalty for killing/maiming pedestrians seems a bit of an easy way out to me.   

       Do they have to go through the congestion charging zone, or can they avoid it by going round Croydon or via Pinner (or South Yemen)?   

       Will the car get very far on the river?   

       How much of Crossrail have they dug so far?
Ian Tindale, Nov 19 2009
  

       I'd give this a [+] if it was a bicycle race.
hippo, Nov 19 2009
  

       //Will the car get very far on the river?//
If it is black and a diesel, it won't go anywhere south of the river [+]
coprocephalous, Nov 19 2009
  

       Outskirts of West London? How outskirty are we talking here? White City, or Richings Park? If the former, then the A40/A501 through to Old Street and then, depending on what "the outskirts of East London" mean (Mile End, or Dagenham?) you could either head down towards Aldgate and either take Whitechapel Road (A11), or Commercial Road (A13) from there - there's a whole bunch of roadworks at Aldgate at the moment though, and you never know when it's going to get clogged up - you might be better off going down Bethnal Green road (turning off at Vallance, or Cambridge-Heath Rd) but there's a couple of right-turns there and hence likely require stoppage.   

       But if we're talking Richings Park to Dagenham, you'd probably find it quicker to go the long way round via the M25 and the Dartford Crossing.
zen_tom, Nov 19 2009
  

       [zen] You'd have to be careful not to grind to a halt somewhere along the Marylebone Road or in the King's Cross area. Depending on the time of day, the North Circular might be better.
hippo, Nov 19 2009
  

       Yes, you're quite right, however, I'm thinking Marylebone.
theleopard, Nov 19 2009
  

       Mornington Crescent!

//Outskirts of West London? How outskirty are we talking here? // Slough? Reading?
coprocephalous, Nov 19 2009
  

       [hippo], although it's not identical, see link.
swimswim, Nov 19 2009
  

       [21] OK, St. Paul's was a bad example. We clearly need more specific rules defining what is considered acceptable terrain.   

       //And why are they prohibited from interfering with road users, but pedestrians are on their own?// Because other road users are our equals. Pedestrians are the underclass.   

       [po] Never left, just took a break from the HB for a while. Finished writing the book by the way!   

       [shudderprose] Accelerometer is probably the wrong device, but I didn't know the name of the actual device you would need.   

       [ian] //Only having a one minute penalty for killing/maiming pedestrians seems a bit of an easy way out to me.// Not really, those 1 minute penalties soon mount up if you're not careful.   

       //Do they have to go through the congestion charging zone, or can they avoid it by going round Croydon or via Pinner (or South Yemen)?// Whatever you want. There is no set route.   

       //Will the car get very far on the river?// No.   

       //How much of Crossrail have they dug so far?// No idea.   

       [hippo] Surely if this was a bicycle race, it would just be a... well, a bicycle race.   

       [z_t] I'd say from the inside of the western edge of the M25 to the inside of the Eastern edge. Actually travelling on the M25 would not be allowed. Given the traffic on the M25, it would probably take even longer anyway.
jtp, Nov 19 2009
  

       If we continue to chat about the best routes through London, this is liable to turn into Dull Thread 2009.
theleopard, Nov 19 2009
  

       It would be considerably less dull if you took the whole "car" thing out altogether and left the options open. Just say "get from this point to that point" and leave people to work out how. Some would take the tube, some the bus, some the river, some the variety of approaches by car described so far, some by air, some would walk, some by taxi, some by bike, some by various other methods. Then you'd have to have some sort of game method to rate it for interestingness, that takes into account the elapsed time. I'd also say that competitors are blindfolded and 'deposited' at the antipodal start point (where these antipodal points are an agreed distance apart) in secret - ie, secret to the competitors. They might not know where they are, they have no friends, money, car nearby, etc.
Ian Tindale, Nov 19 2009
  

       Yes, in the UK pedestrians are legally 'road users'. Remove the encouragement to break the law and this one gets a [+]. Make the vehicles human-powered and get an extra-special handmade +
pocmloc, Nov 19 2009
  

       Mr Tindale's comment reminds me of one of the 'Top Gear' challenges (Top Gear being a UK TV motoring programme) and this idea is, I think, perilously close to not original. Linky.
DrBob, Nov 19 2009
  

       Apparently there are no stop signs in London.
RayfordSteele, Nov 19 2009
  

       OK, I've changed the idea so that competitors are *not* encouraged to vandalise priceless historical landmarks, kill/maim pedestrians, or break the law in general. Meh.   

       I've also changed the vehicles to be pedal-powered, so that should put a smile on the face of the environmentalists.   

       [DrBob] I know the Top Gear challenge you speak of, but that was a straight race from one point to another. This is the same, but the main aim of the competitor is to never come to a complete halt. The 'race' could take days, in theory, with maybe only one competitor actually crossing the finish line. The idea was inspired by me, as I like to play this game when driving around town (I don't actually hold up the traffic, obviously, but the game (of sorts) can still be played).   

       [RayfordSteele] You do have to observe Stop signs, you just make sure that you're inching every-so-slowly towards it in the hope that when you get there, the junction ahead is clear. There is nothing in the rules that says you can't edge forward an inch, then let the vehicle roll back an inch. Just as long as you don't come to a complete halt.
jtp, Nov 20 2009
  

       I do the "try not to stop" thing as well when I'm in traffic - but it requires leaving a space in front, which other road users are wont to dive into without warning - road users, it would seem, abhor a vacuum.
zen_tom, Nov 20 2009
  

       //edge forward an inch, then let the vehicle roll back an inch. Just as long as you don't come to a complete halt//   

       Ahh... so your speed inbetwen inching forwards and backwards is...?
pocmloc, Nov 20 2009
  

       The "don't come to a complete halt" rule assumes that spacetime is not quantised. I.e. it assumes that space and time are smooth and continuous and that, in moving from point A to point B, you travel through an infinite number of intermediate points and times. Quantum theory suggests that it may be more likely that in moving from one point to another you move in discrete steps. This arises from the idea that there are small units of space and time can cannot be subdivided and so something moving from one to another will jump, with no intermediate step. This implies that a moving body will actually spend much of its time stationary.

Pedants might object to this by denying that anything above 0°K can be described as stationary. Other pedants might start talking about Zeno: A train moving at 100mph hits a fly which gets splatted on the windscreen. The fly goes from say -2mph to +100mph so there is a point at which it is at 0mph on the windscreen of the train. If this is the case, then the train too must be at 0mph.
hippo, Nov 20 2009
  

       [pocmloc] - good point. Maybe have a rule that the vehicle cannot be stationary for more than a second or something?   

       [hippo] - only you could use the Kelvin scale as an argument on this idea.
jtp, Nov 20 2009
  

       [hippo]: Yet more pedants might say that the Kelvin scale does not invlove °.   

       I'm not going to continue down the whole pedantry route. I know I'll come a cropper pretty quickly.   

       "Pedantry Route" - could be a name for the course?
Jinbish, Nov 20 2009
  

       [z_t] indeed. I'm a "2 chevron" man when on the mway, and it only lasts a few seconds before a vacuum-hater nips into the space. Grrr.
jtp, Nov 20 2009
  

       The train never drops to 0. As parts of the fly compress, they pass through 0.
RayfordSteele, Nov 20 2009
  

       Surely the train windscreen is ever-so-slightly flexible?
pocmloc, Nov 20 2009
  

       // Pedestrians are the underclass //   

       That gets a bun from us. [+]   

       // that the vehicle cannot be stationary for more than a second or something? //   

       If the vehicle is a wheeled vehicle moving with velocity v, then (given that it is not in a skid) at any point in time t, the portion of the wheel in contact with the road has zero velocity, whereas the diametrically opposite point has velocity 2v.   

       This is equally true of a tracked vehicle, for instance a Challenger II Main Battle Tank, which is most gratifying to drive in London traffic; awkward to park, but on the plus side, rather difficult to clamp or tow.   

       Also, define "stationary". Stationary with respect to its immediate environment ? And unless the vehicle is at Zero Kelvin, the atoms will be in constant motion ... even at zero kelvin, the electrons (if they exist) will still be "moving" ....
8th of 7, Nov 20 2009
  

       When a swing swings up to the top of the swinging bit, as it swings, does it ever remain stationless?
Ian Tindale, Nov 20 2009
  

       Certainly not relative to Albert Einstein, who is at this point spinning in his grave ....
8th of 7, Nov 20 2009
  

       //does it ever remain stationless?//   

       For an infinitely small moment in time that can never be shown to have existed, yes.
shudderprose, Nov 20 2009
  

       Precisely my quantum theory point - see above.
hippo, Nov 21 2009
  

       The window is slightly flexible, yes. But the velocity of the train is much greater than the velocity of the window deflection.
RayfordSteele, Nov 22 2009
  
      
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