Funny Question (was Simple Minds)

Janie Wilkins (
Mon, 21 Jun 1999 17:05:37 -0400

This post is in response to something that Rohit sent me earlier

Rohit Khare wrote:

> I was thinking of your library thread, and Dave Long's intelligent
>agent question. If you'd like to show off, I was dreaming of a funny
>question: what's the ratio of commuters through the Holland Tunnel
>annually to the population of Holland?

Good question, kind of funny (I guess) and it took me under 5
minutes to come up with an answer. BTW, the hardest question that I
ever had to answer on this list in terms of time spent trying to find a
reliable source was the one that Adam sent me way back when I first
joined FoRK --> archived at

Okay, on to the question at hand, which was pretty easy overall. I was
fairly confident that I would be able to answer
both parts of this question using one of my favourite ready reference
tools -- the good old almanac. By consulting the
1999 ed. of the "World Alamanac" I found the population of the
Netherlands (aka Holland) to be 15, 731,112 (which I
confirmed as being relatively accurate by using the 1998 "Europa World
Yearbook" as they state the population as
being 15, 517, 000). Alas, I could not find the desired statistic for
the Holland Tunnel in the trusty almanac even though I
found out several other interesting facts about the tunnel (length, when

completed, etc). Actually, I was unaware that it
was second longest underwater tunnel in North America...

I did know, however, that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
has an excellent website as I have
used it several times before in my reference work. Thus a trip to yielded the answer to the second
part of the question (sort of). According to PANYNJ the 1998 Traffic
Volume through the Holland Tunnel (Eastbound) Annually was 17, 307,
698. They give the eastbound statistic only as this is the side for
which they collect a toll, but one can assume that the westbound traffic

is similar (after all, people who drive in to New York every morning
also tend to leave it every night and vice versa). Thus, the annual
number of vehicles through the Holland tunnel is somewhere in the
ballpark of 34, 614, 396.

Some quick math would indicate that the ratio is approx. 2.2:1 Egads!
That means there are 2.2 cars travelling to or from New York annually
via the Holland Tunnel for every person that lives in "Holland"... wow,
that's a whole lotta cars! The entire population of a nation driving in
and out again is one way to think of it!

I must admit that I assumed that Rohit meant the Netherlands when he
said Holland (and not just the province of Holland within the
Netherlands)...correct me if you wanted something different Rohit.