Tuesday, 10 February 2015 - 17:36
Twente student breaks record riding entire Berlin S-Bahn route
After Twente University mathematics student Loes Knoben took on a traineeship to design a computerized rapid course covering Berlin's S-Bahn public transit system, she decided to take a challenge and put her programming skills to the test. Her skills were vindicated when she rode the entire rail system in just 15 hours and four minutes, faster than anyone else by nearly two hours. "It was an idea of a German student who had read about all these record attempts in cities like New York and London," Knoben told the university's news site UTNieuws.nl. "He asked the company I was doing my internship in if they had a mathematical solution for such a record for S-Bahn stations in Berlin. So that was my assignment." Her colleague's idea was to not only set foot in all 166 S-Bahn stations, but to ride every meter of track as well. The software program itself was first created without a timetable and detailed afterwards into a form that allows the user to enter data from any public transport network. After uploading all the necessary information, the tool calculates the fastest route and presents the itinerary, said Knoben. Storms raged across Berlin the night before the record attempt, slowing the record breaker down a bit, she said. "There were trees and scaffoldings on the track at some points, so the S-Bahn did not ride all the time, which was unfortunate, but we still beat the former record of 17 hours and 1 minute." Ideally the 331.5-kilometer journey could be ridden in 13 hours and 24 minutes, nearly 100 minutes faster than Knoben's time.