Posted by: grokscience | October 9, 2013

Science of Oakland

UnknownWhat happens when old friends meet again? Wildness ensues. On this episode, our man on the street, Vikram Kulkarni, joins us to talk about the science of Oakland.

Science in da ‘hood. đŸ˜‰




  1. This is science show, but basic math is also science, right?

    Airplane ticket between CA and SF is about $100 ($200 rt), and only takes an hour. On special sale, they can be had for about half that. Compare that to CA high speed rail using rough numbers in Wikipedia,

    Rail cost = $70B
    Riders/yr (high end critical estimate) = 31M/yr
    Operating cost per passenger = ??? ($100???)
    Cost/rider over 20 years = $113 + ??? ($100???)
    Ride time = 3 hours

    Why not give free plane rides for next 20 or 30 years between CA and SF? It will be cheaper, because no operating cost will be needed. In fact, considering government subsidy to keep passenger rail alive in US, it may be cheaper to give free plane rides between CA and SF indefinitely than to build and operate this thing.

    Some crooked politician(s) and their cronies are getting rich off this, but it certainly doesn’t bring benefit to anyone else.

  2. Then there’s the ridership math. 31M/yr = 85K/day.

    Operating hours = 8 hour/day
    Riders per hour = 10.6K/hr
    Riders per train (10 cars at 100 per car) = 1K (pack few more to 1.06K)
    Trains per hour = 10

    That will be train almost full of people leaving the station every 6 minutes. Even if you run the train 24 hours a day, that works out to almost fully packed train every 18 minutes. Math and science certainly works, but it’s far removed from reality. It gets even crazier if you use 260K riders/day number.

    Did I make mistakes in math?

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