Shaun, simple question for you today:
If I was to drive the Mass Pike from the beginning (NY border) to the end (Logan Airport) exclusively in the right lane, would i travel a longer or shorter distance than someone traveling in the left lane? (we can ignore the pesky middle lane since it only exists on like half the pike)
Taking a quick look at the road map, the casual observer will see that the Mass Pike curves in a gentle “U” shape, starting at the MA border, dipping down to drift through Springfield, staying low through Sturbridge, then slowly drifting back up for it’s eventual end in Boston. Given that this is the case, it’s clear that the left lane is shorter (just like how the inside track in a circular race course is shorter).
BUT WAIT! Have you taken into account the CURVATURE OF THE EARTH?
Well, of course! Would you expect anything less from me?
A “Great Circle Route” shortens the distance you travel on the globe by taking into account the curvature of the Earth. However, because we are in the Northern Hemisphere, any Great Circle Route would curve DOWN, like a frown, not UP, like the Mass Pike. So, even with the curvature taken into account, the left lane is STILL shorter.
Here are some posts from other would-be answerers or commenters on the question.
Mike D says
whoa! Iâ€™ve been wondering this same thing for years!
Now you can rest easy, Mike D….
Donâ€™t forget the Right lane at around exit 9 becomes the middle due to the addition of the NYC traffic. So the right lane would become that pesky middle lane. And if you try to go the other way, the right lane would dissappear as it is the exit lane for Exit 9 (Rt84) Donâ€™t forget to keep that in mind while calculating that all knowing Shaun.
No worries. I take all factors into account. Even the gravitational constant. And the X-files (especially the episodes with cameos from current West Wing stars). Please note that we are only concerned with the “left-to-right” journey in this answer…
Youâ€™d be driving a longer distance in the right hand lane.
Our conclusions agree, Patrick. As a side note, Interstate 90 would continue beyond the MA border, across the country, and directly into Seattle. Connected by the same road! Ever drive on I-90?