I had this thought when I was on my way into the city the other day. I don't have a licence, so whenever I want to go into the city I have to use the train, which takes something like 25 minutes to travel the 18.4km (according to Hyperdia) into the city. This, however, isn't much of a change from the half an hour it takes to drive the 18 or so km (according to Google maps) into the city via the roads. This, for some reason, made me think:
If, for some reason, people had to walk from my town into the city, and they could only either walk along the roads or the train tracks, which one would be more efficient?
So, what would the benefits (if there are any) to following the train tracks apposed to walking along the roads into the city be? Would it be more time efficient? Would it be better to use the train tracks to transport things if the people could rig some kind of man-powered cart as apposed to one used via the roads? Could following the train tracks be easier if the roads were particularly hilly, maybe?
Also, let's assume that there are no cars or trains (or other obstacles) blocking the routes (and no vehicles of any kind will suddenly come along to flatten the walkers, either), and that vehicles that use anything other than man power of some sort are unable to be used (so things like bicycles and carts are fine).
Distance by train: 18.4km
Time taken by train: 24 minutes
Distance by road: 17-18km
Time taken by road (by car): 26-28 minutes in good traffic
(Don't know if this is important but will mention it anyway) The train tracks go through three tunnels, the longest of which takes something like 30-40 seconds to pass through.
I hope this is enough information. Thank you for any comments, suggestions, or answers!