Measuring the Travel Characteristics of New York City’s Fire Companies

by Peter Kolesar, Warren Walker

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In order to obtain quantitative information about the relationship between travel times and travel distances in various regions of New York City, the Fire Department of New York conducted a stopwatch experiment in 1971. Data on over 2000 responses made by 15 units were collected and analyzed. The report describes the experiment, analyzes the results, and draws conclusions about the travel characteristics of New York's fire companies. A continuous function relating travel time to travel distance is fitted to the experimental data. This function is a square-root relationship for response distances up to some point and linear for longer distances. At their point of intersection, the two functions have the same slope.

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