Thursday, January 2, 2014

The U-Turn Rush - No, the car one

I've talked before about the importance of certain events in Japan when families will do everything possible to come together in their home towns. Golden Week in May, Obon in August and also New Year's Day. A significant portion of the population will travel within country (though those travelling overseas is steadily increasing too). The problems arise when everyone travels on the same day/days and the shinkansen will be at 300% capacity and the roads too. Outbound can be managed but the U-turn rush, the phrase for the homeward journey, seems to always be remarkably well co-ordinated.

The key to avoiding this is purely timing. A matter of a few hours can make the difference between a two hour journey and a nine hour one. The interesting issue is that there's is a very good forecasting system that provides indicators on the peak times and yet many drivers will still be caught in 80km (~50m) stationary traffic every time having wanted to eek hour the final few hours with family and friends. And today I got caught too. Though not quite as bad my 180km journey took 1 hour 45 for the first 150k's and 2 hours 15 for the final 30k's. 4 hours in all. If I'd just skipped breakfast... 

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