An interesting observation about GPS receivers

We do a lot of highway driving every week. It’s amazing how many cars are now using GPS devices! I’d say it’s about 1/4 to 1/3 of all cars on the highway are using them – closely following the on-screen routes to their destinations.

Garmin Nuvi 650

Garmin Nuvi 650

What’s interesting is that the algorithm used by these devices doesn’t always keep you on the big highways. I was quite surprised that our special back-roads route to our cottage (devised over YEARS of trial and error, backtracking and testing) was the route that our Garmin GPS chose – without any prompting on our part. It chose this crazy route through the back roads of Quebec to bring us from Ottawa to St. Sauveur.

And, on a recent trip to the Maine coast, our GPS brought us on a beautiful shortcut route – which was a couple of minutes shorter than the highway – but was a route you would NEVER choose unless you were a local. It was just one step up from a dirt road – lots of crazy twists and turns around huge boulders in the highway!

So, what’s happening is that people along these tiny, middle of nowhere routes must now be experiencing a huge increase in traffic!

I’ll bet that if you measured the traffic on this tiny road in Maine this year, compared to last year you’d see a huge increase in traffic! And I’ll bet the highway engineers and designers have no idea this is happening!

An unexpected side effect of the growth of GPS receiver use.

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