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Synchronize Area Codes to Time Zones

Simple way of septupling available numbers
  [vote for,

The Halfbakery is full of wonderfully pie-in-the-sky methods of redoing the current dispersement of area codes in the US, Canada, and North American protectorates. And while a lot of them obviously required a lot of thought to create, many are just too goldarned complex.


So how about this one: The continental (thanks to [angel]) US, Alaska, and Hawaii are spread across six total time zones. Guam, the Virgin Islands, Midway, and other tiny little critters are spread across about 5 more.

There are 10 digits on a telephone keypad.

Why not add one single digit to every existing telephone number that is dependent on your time zone?


3-Future Eastern split





8-All others

Or some combination thereof. 1 and 0 would remain the keys for long distance and operator, respectively.

I consider this to be far simpler than synchronizing to ZIP Codes, since I don't even know my OWN ZIP code, and learning one extra digit is easier than learning Five possibly new ones for every number.

Also, this is a fairly intuitive system - You know where Denver is, right? Wanna call your friend in Denver? It only takes a quarter second to think of the time zone that it's in (mountain), and dial that up.

This would require no new numbers beyond the current splitting that's already occuring in area codes around the country, and would allow for a much more intuitive split system, since many of the area codes that are numerically similar to existing ones are spread out across the country. So new splits could be more easily learned by the populace. New York wants a new area code? Under the old system, you gotta find one. Under the new one, 213 is available again (213 is currently downtown LA), which would compliment the existing 212 nicely.

There'd be no need to immediately reprint everything from business cards to taxicabs, since anyone who's calling long distance probably knows time zones anyway.

Possible problems: Indiana and Arizona don't follow DST, so the time zones would change. Easiest way to solve that is to permanently associate them with one of the time zone codes, based on geographical proximity (I'd go with Central and Mountain).

Flame away.

shapu, Aug 05 2004


       Does your phone number change during Daylight Saving Time? :)   

       I think it is best to divy up phone numbers by population: you waste heaps on time zones in the pacific!   

       HOWEVER: It'd be fantastic if there was a way to have really, really long (alternate) phone numbers for when you need to know the number from info like:   

       Residence: 1464 Australia : 61 Postcode: 2948 Street name 'codex'/'soundex?: 39495 Street number: 12   

       Other phone numbers (hospitals, government service by topic, etc) would be run from long lists of redundant but unique phone numbers.   

not_only_but_also, Aug 05 2004

       Well, Alaska/Hawaii/Pacific could all be combined into one code zone.   

       And I guess I didn't explain this part: When dialing, you'd just use the time zone as a prefix. So calling a number in LA would go from 213-555-1212 to 6-213-555-1212, and Indianapolis becomes 4-317-555-1212, and so on.
shapu, Aug 05 2004

       //The US, Alaska, and Hawaii//
I thought those two states were *in* the US. Did they secede?
<aside>Are the any towns which are close together but in different time zones? If so, does this cause problems / confusion / fun?</aside>
angel, Aug 06 2004

       Well, Indiana is split down the middle half of the year. That could be a good one, in that calling Terre Haute means calling a different time zone than Fort Wayne. Same with Tennessee and Memphis/Nashville. Again, it might be easiest just to permanently assign those split-zone states to one region or the other.   

       No, Alaska and Hawaii didn't secede. I was going to put "contiguous" in there, but forgot.
shapu, Aug 06 2004


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