How many have you visited? States that is. Myself, I’ve traveled in or through 38 of the lower 48 states (and have also been to Hawaii so make that 39 of the 50). Having driven across the country four separate times and driving to and from Florida and New Jersey for college, road trips have played a major part in my life.
I’ve done non-stop routes (California to New Jersey in two-and-a-half days) and I’ve done the leisurely trucking of seeing this ol’ land of our’s. Efficiency during a road trip can be crucial and one man has figured out the most efficient way to visit all of the lower 48 states.
His name is Randal Olson and he’s a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently put together some research computing optimal road trips on a budget, and through these he’s mapped out the quickest and most efficient way to see all the 48’s state capitol buildings.
Using "multi-objective Pareto optimization" and Google Maps, he figured out that the circuital route would be 13,310 miles via 2,256 directions in a total of just 8.5 days. Since it is circuital, you could pick up the route anywhere along it to start.
So if seeing 48 of the 50 state capitol buildings sounds like your thing, then here’s your summer road trip plan. And if complex mathematics are your thing, then check out all of Olson’s computations here.
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