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Every day I go to work, I go through the tough decision of whether or not I should walk to work or wait for the tram. Sometimes, it’s an easy decision because the tram is there at the stop, but other times, the decision is quite hard. I always think “If I start walking, and the tram comes, then it’ll most definitely pass me by if I don’t walk very fast. On the other hand, if I walk and I walk fast, then I’ll be incredibly tired and sweaty by the time I get to work.”

It doesn’t sound like a big problem, but it is, especially when I have to make that choice many times a week. But according to BB and new research into the situation, mathematicians at Harvard University believe that the right choice is the lazy choice.

Scott Kominers, a mathematician at Harvard University, and his colleagues derived a formula for the optimal time that you should wait for a tardy bus at each stop en route before giving up and walking on.

The team found that the solution was surprisingly simple. When both options seem reasonably attractive, the formula advises you to choose the “lazy” option: wait at the first stop, no matter how frustrating.

The only time this “rule” doesn’t quite work out in one’s own benefit is when the timetable has intervals of over an hour and when the distance needed to travel is over 1km.

That does it for me. I’m waiting from now on. Too many trams have passed me by when I think I’ve made the right decision to walk.