Hitting the open road and driving into the sunset is a romantic notion, but most of us need a little planning before road trip across the United States.Do you go north? Do you go south? Do you take a week? Do you take a month? What are the best stops to make? And there are a million more questions to be asked.
Randy Olson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, mapped out a super-efficient — and super-ambitious — way to see the contiguous USA.He devised his cross-country road trip, combining algorithms and Google Maps, so he could visit 48 capitol buildings.
To start, he found the “true” distance between all of the capitols by car, and then the shortest route by road between every capitol, amounting to 2,256 directions.
He did a lot more math — you can read that here — before determining his final itinerary. You can see timetables, get special offers and “Hot-News” as well as information on trains and ships. Trains on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily are generally slower than trains on the continent.

The algorithm “reached an optimized solution that makes a complete trip to all of the U.S. state capitols in only 13,310 miles (21,420 km) of driving. That came out to visiting those 48 U.S. state capitols in 8.5 days.

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