The Psychology of Waiting Lines

The Psychology of Waiting Lines by User Interface expert Don Norman.
There are lots of lessons in here for transportation, for which queueing is central. Among them:

“One problem with multiple lines is that the other line always appears to be moving faster. This is true of cars in highway lanes and people in shopping market checkout lanes. Whatever lane you switch to, the other one moves faster. The perception occurs because the amount of time to process a person varies. Some people are processed quickly, others incredibly slowly. And no matter which line you are in, it always seems as if it is indeed the slowest. We note and remember when people in other lines start moving faster than the line we are in. We tend not to notice when our line moves quickly ahead of the others. It is this asymmetry that leads to the perception of unfair lines. “

The Decline of Car Culture

Nate Silver on Auto Industry Statistics in Esquire.
Disentangling the long-term trend, gas prices, and the recession is tricky. Only time well tell whether this is permanent.
(The graph on the linked page is annoying because of its pseudo-3D nature, flat line graphs please with no shadows).

Roomba’s Route Choice.

Is this the best solution to the Roomba problem (covering an area with a vacuum cleaner in the minimal time), I am sure somebody in Operations Research has a formal name for this: Long-Exposure Shot of a Roomba’s Path Shows Beautifully Organized Chaos on Gizmodo

New York transit ridership

Via Kottke, from Frumination: New York Subway ridership trends, graphically and spatially, by station