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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What cities made it (and didn't) onto the perfect U.S. road trip map?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 2:57 PM

OK, so it isn't brand-new, but it's the first time we've seen it: the perfect road trip, as planned by a computer. So it has to be perfect, right?

It was created right here in Michigan, with help from Randy Olson, a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University. Basically, the itinerary had to pass through every contiguous U.S. state. The requirements were that the must make at least one stop in each state, would only make stops at National Natural Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Parks, or National Monuments, and must be taken by car and never leave the U.S. Using a special algorithm, the computer took less than a minute to spit out a near-perfect solution that makes a complete trip around the U.S. in only 13,699 miles.

Now, we know our readers like road trips, but this one was special. Some cities didn't make the list: Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix. But Detroit did: The computer recommended stopping in Detroit to see the Fox Theatre. (Has Mike Ilitch made any generous donations to MSU's computing department?)

Beyond that, the road trip sidestepped the rest of the state. Now that is disappointing.

Luckily, Randy Olson created a similar road trip just for the Great Lakes State. Have a look.

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