How to Calculate Travel Distance & Time

How to Calculate Travel Distance & Time
Calculating travel distance and time is necessary to plan your trips successfully. There are obviously many technologies that will perform these calculations for you. When technology tools are inaccessible, knowing how to calculate your own travel distance and time can be very useful.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • String
  • Map
  • Calculator
Step 1
Carefully line the string from the point of origin to the end of the route you plan to travel on a map. If there are bends and curves on your route, line the string accordingly for accurate results.
Step 2
Mark the string by tying it in a knot to indicate the end of your route. If scissors are available, you can also simply cut the string.
Step 3
Find the scale of the map to determine its unit of measurement. The scale should be listed on the map key. Use your ruler to see how many inches or centimeters correspond per mile or kilometers.
Step 4
Take the string and measure it with the ruler. Calculate your distance by multiplying the length of your string by the miles as it corresponds to the map scale. For example, if the map scale denotes that one inch equals 10 miles, then five inches of string equals 50 miles.
Step 5
To calculate the time, use the formula t = d/r where t=time, d=distance and r=mph. For example, if you have 50 miles of distance to travel and you drive at the rate of 25 mph then divide 50 by 25. This will calculate your travel time.

t = 50 miles ÷ 25 miles per hour = 2 hours

Tips & Warnings

When using the t=d/r equation, it's important to keep the units consistent. For instance, if the rate is in miles per hour (mph), then the time needs to be in hours and the distance in miles.
Actual results depend on factors that are subject to change like alternative routes, traffic, driving speed and pit stops.

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.

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