Today on The Train: Crowd Dynamics and More

We all know how interesting my commutes can be, I talk about them often.

Today was no different simply observing the typical humans of NYC, the good, the bad, the unfortunate, the disgruntled, and more. This week, I’m also taking the Metro North atop my usual long commute (thanks to my car being at the mechanic,) so you know I’m just SO happy every morning that I wake up to WALK 20-30 minutes to the train.

Playing-the-victim-aside, just wanted to share a couple of thoughts from this morning:

1. How often are you walking through the jungle that is GCT or Penn Station on any-given-rush-hour and have those “oh god should I go left or right… is that person going left or right…omg we’re going to bump right into each other” moments?

You’re both looking at each other (or not) from many feet away, swaying a bit left but then maybe right… you have a moment where you think you’re surely going to knock right into each other but in the nick of time you awkwardly laugh or smile and just take a hard left or right out of each others way?!

Come on… I know I’m not the only one! And I can prove it… because people STUDY crowd/group dynamics!

“It is a behavior brought about by probabilities. If two opposing people guess each other’s intentions correctly, each moving to one side and allowing the other past, then they are likely to choose to move the same way the next time they need to avoid a collision.

The probability of a successful maneuver increases as more and more people adopt a bias in one direction, until the tendency sticks. Whether it’s right or left does not matter; what does is that it is the unspoken will of the majority,” read more on Economist.

2. Metro-Northers: have you ever noticed the people-counters clicking/tallying away as you walk by from the tunnel into GCT? I always wonder what would happen if I stopped and asked them a question. If anyone would stop and ask them a question really… would they ignore you? Push you aside? I mean they can’t be distracted to be accurate, must be so hard! It’s like a big unspoken fact, “DO NOT FEED THE CLICKERS!” I can’t imagine calculating 82M rides for a Metro North 2011 ridership statistics report, is easy.

3. I discovered some great runway/catwalk walking-through-crowds songs this morning on my ipod…anything from “Absolute Dance Spring 2012” especially — including but not limited to:

Broken, Kate Ryan ft Narco
Epic, Sandro Silva & Quintino
International Love (Darwin & Michael Run radio remix), Pitbull ft Chris Brown

Just don’t trip and fall mid-song.

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