Monday, August 16, 2010

On Parking

I’ve always wondered why some people like reversing into a parking. The standard excuse is that it is “easier to get out.” This is certainly true, but it is also more difficult to get in. The whole system needs to be investigated in terms of the total net increase or decrease of ease that is gained by reversing into a parking.

The entire process can be broken up into two obvious tasks: Entering and exiting. Using a simple scale from one to ten in order to rate the difficulty of the task (with one being really easy and ten being really hard (or for those that require a more precise scale: the scale being a measure of the average between task related brain activity, relevant sensory activity, and muscular activity required to execute the manoeuvre; approximately logarithmic to base e; and scaled and shifted along the axis such that one is equivalent to the difficulty of driving in a straight line at constant speed, and ten is equivalent to a high speed hand-brake turn into a narrow fit parallel parking, including at least two jumps over other vehicles, at least one of which must be carried out without the aid of a ramp)). Rating each task individually and averaging them gives a reliable indicator of the total difficulty of the entire parking process.

Considering an average sized parking with cars on both sides, the difficulty of each task is estimated to be approximately (to the nearest integer) as follows:
  • Reversing in: 4
  • Driving in: 2
  • Driving out: 2
  • Reversing out: 3
The primary difference comes in the reversing out compared to reversing in, since reversing into a wide area is easier than reversing into a narrower area (obviously).

The average for both going in and out of the parking is thus:
  • Reversing in, driving out : 3
  • Driving in, reversing out: 2.5

The argument is therefore invalid in the absence of further reasons.
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