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Author Topic: Fixing the US's time zones  (Read 3674 times)

bandit957

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2019, 07:37:57 PM »

I agree with the map that Cincinnati should be in Central Time. That's where it naturally should be.

I realized this when I was having health problems that made it impossible to keep up with Eastern Time, especially during Daylight Saving Time.
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2019, 08:41:02 PM »

I do like this map, but I would recommend that to the extent that a boundary is just within a state line, the state line should be the boundary.

When I did this exercise awhile ago, I did the work on a by-television-market basis, rather than a by-county basis.  It did result in some split states, but it avoided the problem of splitting a metro area, as would happen if (for example) you have Tennessee and Alabama in Central, but Georgia in Eastern (see Chattanooga and Columbus, GA).
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2019, 09:03:04 PM »

I've never really understood the way the boundary zig-zags in Kentucky. My counterpart in the Somerset office lives in Russell County, which is in Central time. I don't know how she handles living and working in different time zones. I'm sure she has to get up at an ungodly hour to be at work at 8 a.m. Eastern, unless she's adjusted her working schedule (as we are allowed to do). My counterpart in Elizabethtown lives in Hart County, which is also on CT.
She might just live her life on Eastern time, and just deal with the hours on the clock saying something different.  I've read that it's very common for people in Central to live on the same schedule on Eastern, just with the clock shifted an hour backwards.  This is essentially how tv programs work.

Quote
Seems to me there was a time when most of eastern Kentucky was temporarily moved into Central time when I was a kid, possibly during one of the Nixon-Carter energy crises. Can't remember why, or what the intended goal of that was. I thought that having it get dark at a later hour on the clock saved energy and getting dark earlier used more energy.
It might have been during the year that the US had permanent DST.
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bandit957

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2019, 09:04:43 PM »

I've read that it's very common for people in Central to live on the same schedule on Eastern

I do the opposite.
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2019, 09:54:22 PM »

People in Arizona would lose their minds if any of the counties had to share a time zone with California...even though they kind of already do with no Daylight Savings part of the year.  Regarding Michigan on the Eastern time Zone I really dug the post 9 PM summer sundown.  It wasn’t like we could do anything cool outside after 4 PM in the winter growing up anyways. 

tdindy88

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2019, 10:41:07 PM »

I had a few interesting ideas for the Central/Eastern time zone boundary.

Starting in Ontario, move Sault Ste Marie and points west to Central, draw the line across Lake Huron and include Lambton, Chatham-Kent and Essex counties/areas in southwest Ontario into Central along with all of Michigan.

Then draw the line across Lake Erie and include all of the Toledo media market east to Sandusky as part of Central. The new time zone boundary would be drawn west to then include the Findlay and Lima areas into Central, keeping them on the same time as Detroit and Fort Wayne. The time zone boundary would be drawn south of Wapakoneta and Celina in Ohio. Everything south and southeast in the Dayton and Columbus markets would remain in Eastern. The boundary would then follow the Indiana-Ohio line south to Dearborn County, Indiana.

Union City, Ohio will get a Wendover, Nevada style option of staying in Central to remain on the same time as Union City, IN and West College Corner, IN will get the option of going to Eastern to stay with College Corner, OH.

In Indiana, only Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland Counties would stay in Eastern to remain with the Cincinnati market. I see the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky media market remaining in the same time zone as Dayton, Columbus and Lexington to the south.

Now across Kentucky I have a more controversial idea, one that probably won't work but I'll share it anyway. Drawing the boundary across the eastern part of the state would probably be better but it most of Ohio (outside of Toledo) were to remain in Eastern then there may have to be a different option. I propose drawing the time zone boundary between the Louisville and Lexington media markets. Everything in the current Louisville DMA market would go to Central time while everything in the Lexington DMA will go to Eastern, including the capital of Frankfort.

I know with Louisville and Lexington being close (I think) it may not be the greatest idea but I see this as preserving the boundary for points further south and not messing any more with Ohio. This idea, if I'm looking at the DMA map right would move Russell County into Eastern with Wayne and Pulaski. Speaking of highways in Kentucky, this idea keeps I-65 in the Central Time Zone for its entire routing and the I-75 route stays entirely in Eastern Time once passing the boundary south of Lima. In Kentucky itself the US 27 and US 127 routes would be in Eastern Time with US 31W and US 31E staying in Central Time. Louisville and Elizabethtown would be on the same time as Bowling Green and Paducah.

From the Tennessee state line I see the boundary remaining the same all the way south to the Florida Panhandle, keeping Eastern Tennessee and Georgia in Eastern and Middle Tennessee and Alabama in Central.

Anyway, that's how I'd fix that particular boundary. I wouldn't be surprised though if there are issues with it.
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2019, 11:20:38 PM »

People in Arizona would lose their minds if any of the counties had to share a time zone with California...even though they kind of already do with no Daylight Savings part of the year. 

But it makes sense, at least for Mohave, La Paz, and Yuma Counties.  Mohave County is closer to Nevada than Phoenix, and many of its residents in the Kingman/Golden Valley and Bullhead City/Ft. Mohave areas travel to Vegas and/or Laughlin enough to justify them being in the same time zone.  Especially once I-11 gets built.

Yuma and La Paz Counties are the Arizona half of the Yuma/El Centro TV market, which is split between two time zones.  That makes no sense whatsoever.
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bandit957

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2019, 11:24:04 PM »

We should just use the time zones that are closest to what they would naturally be, with each county assigned to the time zone of the nearest major city.
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2019, 11:29:58 PM »

People in Arizona would lose their minds if any of the counties had to share a time zone with California...even though they kind of already do with no Daylight Savings part of the year. 

But it makes sense, at least for Mohave, La Paz, and Yuma Counties.  Mohave County is closer to Nevada than Phoenix, and many of its residents in the Kingman/Golden Valley and Bullhead City/Ft. Mohave areas travel to Vegas and/or Laughlin enough to justify them being in the same time zone.  Especially once I-11 gets built.

Yuma and La Paz Counties are the Arizona half of the Yuma/El Centro TV market, which is split between two time zones.  That makes no sense whatsoever.

A good chunk of those locals and snow birds want nothing to do with anything that might be”California.”.  The view in those communities about California (I say this having worked in Bullhead City, Kingman, Parker, Havasu and Yuma for years) is that it nothing but negative which stems back to incidents like the Parker Dam Project.  The same attitude doesn’t carry for Nevada but nobody really ever seemed bothered having to switch time zones living in Bullhead City and working in Laughlin.  It might make sense but I’m willing to bet in a “hypothetical” vote in those counties it would shot down hard. 

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2019, 12:40:25 AM »

The time zones in this country are skewed quite a bit west of where they should be based on longitude.

This assessment of "should be" presumes that the idealized time zone placement involves keeping clock time as close to solar time as feasible while still only working in 1-hour increments.

I would counterargue that there is a reason why time zones are "skewed west", and point out that this phenomenon is not unique to the US, it repeats itself globally. Note how on this map there is a lot more red (places ahead of solar time) than blue (places behind solar time). This suggests that there is perhaps a natural preference for being ahead of solar time, and this is consistent with the reason we have DST: people like later sunsets and dislike earlier sunrises.

Indeed, I have found personally that when I travel, places which are towards the western edge of time zones are more pleasant to be in than places that are towards the eastern edge of time zones - because when operating on a normal schedule the places towards the western edge afford me more daylight to work with.

Ergo, I am going to argue instead that our time zones are not skewed far west enough. I concocted this myself a few months ago:

This includes time zones ranging from GMT-4 (pink) to GMT-11 (red)

This map presents an "always round up" scenario. Except for some small pockets near the eastern edges, solar noon will fall between 12:00 and 13:00 local time when DST is not in effect. (Almost) everyone gets to live ahead of solar time instead of behind it.

Note that this was a quickly thrown together thing so it could stand some potential tweaking in order to better align some areas with the nearest large city. But it's meant to demonstrate the general idea, not to be perfect.


« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 12:45:12 AM by Duke87 »
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jp the roadgeek

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2019, 01:50:07 AM »

I've shown this one before.  The northeast corridor should all be on one time, and that is AST.  I've divided my map based on metropolitan areas and DMA's.  I've renamed MST as Western Standard Time, but for description purposes below, I'll use MST


States that are divided

NY: Rochester and Buffalo EST, rest AST
PA: Philly, Harrisburg, Scranton DMA's, Pike, and Fulton County AST; Pittsburgh, Erie, Altoona DMA's plus Mercer, McKean, and Potter Counties EST
MD: Garrett County EST, rest AST
WV: Washington and Harrisonburg DMA counties AST, rest EST
VA: Washington, Richmond, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Norfolk AST; Roanoke, Bristol, and Greensboro DMA area EST
NC: Norfolk DMA counties AST, rest EST
MN: MSP DMA EST, rest CST
IA: Quad Cities DMA EST, rest CST
MO: Hannibal/Quincy, St Louis, Cape Girardeau DMA's EST, rest CST
AR: Memphis and Jackson DMA counties EST, rest CST
LA: New Orleans DMA EST, rest CST
MT: Billings, Glendive, and Bismarck DMA counties CST, rest MST
WY: Salt Lake City DMA counties MST, rest CST
AZ: Apache County CST, rest MST
WA: Spokane DMA MST, rest PST
OR: Boise DMA counties MST, rest PST
CA: Siskiyou County PST, rest MST

« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 01:58:26 AM by jp the roadgeek »
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2019, 02:48:29 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The entire west coast should just be MST (or "Western" on your map). I can understand putting the PNW in the same time zone as BC's Lower Mainland, but...

...If I'm not mistaken, CA, OR, WA, and BC have all passed legislation to adopt permanent DST, which would have the same effect as moving ahead one time zone. It's pretty much agreed on the west coast that longer evenings are preferred over longer mornings, so proposals on this thread really ought to consider moving the Pacific coast in MST.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2019, 06:48:35 AM »

I've shown this one before.  The northeast corridor should all be on one time, and that is AST.  I've divided my map based on metropolitan areas and DMA's.  I've renamed MST as Western Standard Time, but for description purposes below, I'll use MST


States that are divided

NY: Rochester and Buffalo EST, rest AST
PA: Philly, Harrisburg, Scranton DMA's, Pike, and Fulton County AST; Pittsburgh, Erie, Altoona DMA's plus Mercer, McKean, and Potter Counties EST
MD: Garrett County EST, rest AST
WV: Washington and Harrisonburg DMA counties AST, rest EST
VA: Washington, Richmond, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Norfolk AST; Roanoke, Bristol, and Greensboro DMA area EST
NC: Norfolk DMA counties AST, rest EST
MN: MSP DMA EST, rest CST
IA: Quad Cities DMA EST, rest CST
MO: Hannibal/Quincy, St Louis, Cape Girardeau DMA's EST, rest CST
AR: Memphis and Jackson DMA counties EST, rest CST
LA: New Orleans DMA EST, rest CST
MT: Billings, Glendive, and Bismarck DMA counties CST, rest MST
WY: Salt Lake City DMA counties MST, rest CST
AZ: Apache County CST, rest MST
WA: Spokane DMA MST, rest PST
OR: Boise DMA counties MST, rest PST
CA: Siskiyou County PST, rest MST



This map should indicate Philly would be nearly completely dark by 4pm around the shortest day of the year from Mid-December to Mid-January.

I also noted elsewhere unintended consequences. This map would also mean much of the green area will have kids walking home from school during dusk or in darkness. People also want kids starting school later...and that would only force more kids into darkness. Heck...many kids would still be in school as the sun sets!
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GaryV

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2019, 07:43:12 AM »

All we need to do is legislate that the sun shall not rise later and set earlier in winter, and we'd be all set.    :bigass:
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oscar

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2019, 07:58:24 AM »

All we need to do is legislate that the sun shall not rise later and set earlier in winter, and we'd be all set.    :bigass:

Just move to the equator. Or Hawaii (~11 hours of daylight at the winter solstice, no DST), which is close enough.
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bandit957

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2019, 09:13:20 AM »

The reason the Eastern Time Zone goes so far to the west is to keep pace with the New York Stock Exchange - which few people actually care about.
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jp the roadgeek

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2019, 09:15:08 AM »

This map should indicate Philly would be nearly completely dark by 4pm around the shortest day of the year from Mid-December to Mid-January.

I also noted elsewhere unintended consequences. This map would also mean much of the green area will have kids walking home from school during dusk or in darkness. People also want kids starting school later...and that would only force more kids into darkness. Heck...many kids would still be in school as the sun sets!

Quite the opposite.  By going to AST, it would mean 5:30 sunsets in December for the Philly area.  Yes, it would probably mean an 8:30 AM sunrise, but the kids would be out of school well before the sun sets. 
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2019, 09:26:52 AM »

This map should indicate Philly would be nearly completely dark by 4pm around the shortest day of the year from Mid-December to Mid-January.

I also noted elsewhere unintended consequences. This map would also mean much of the green area will have kids walking home from school during dusk or in darkness. People also want kids starting school later...and that would only force more kids into darkness. Heck...many kids would still be in school as the sun sets!

Quite the opposite.  By going to AST, it would mean 5:30 sunsets in December for the Philly area.  Yes, it would probably mean an 8:30 AM sunrise, but the kids would be out of school well before the sun sets. 

Then everyone is going to school in darkness.  Either way...its not solving numerous issues brought up by others.
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2019, 10:26:36 AM »

Here is a map of the idealized time zones for America if they followed their 15 degree longitude.  As you can see from the pink lines the current timezones in America skew to the west.



Over the coming years there is a high likelihood that the Federal government will amend the Uniform Time Act of 1966 and make DST permanent.  If DST becomes permanent, many states will debate if they should stay on DST or join Hawaii and Arizona and run standard time year-round.  Naturally states on the western edge of a timezone would be the most likely to want to join standard time (to prevent late sunrises in the winter).  If states like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Texas, and Oklahoma decided to switch to standard time, the 'timezone skew' to the west we currently see would go away.  The map below really isn't a new timezone map, but it's how things might shake out if the nation went to permanent DST (ie. Michigan would still be part of the eastern timezone but they would opt out of DST).

« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 10:36:15 AM by tradephoric »
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2019, 11:17:03 AM »

In a prior iteration of a time zone/DST thread, I explored what time zone boundaries in the US might look if they were drawn so as to minimize the "error" in which points of time during a day we believe ought to be "light" or "dark" (e.g. before 5am ought to be "dark"; school and morning commute ought to be "light"; it ought to be "dark" by 9:30pm) as viewed from the primary city in each market.  I assumed no more DST time changes.

I also imposed a constraint that zip code boundaries must not split television markets, using DMAs as a proxy for metropolitan areas.

Here's what my preferred map looks like, after a bit of cleanup:


Note that the main time zones are UTC -4½, UTC -5½, UTC -6½, and UTC -7½.  If I forced the time zones to be UTC -4/-5/-6/-7/-8 with my algorithm, we end up with boundaries that would probably be viewed as unacceptable (DC and NY in different time zones; New Orleans/Memphis/St. Louis/Minneapolis all on the line; SF and LA in different time zones).

There are a few places in the country that are still "problems":

Detroit & Toledo -- the ideal boundary passes through these markets. Detroit should be in Eastern under my algorithm, while Toledo should be in Central.  I think there would be resistance to having Detroit and Toledo in different time zones...so I've colored the map to show the difficulty.  (Lima, OH is also given this "in between" coloring.  It should be Central, but I could see some pressure to keep it with Toledo or Columbus.)

Michigan LP excluding Detroit -- Most of Michigan should be in Central.  However, I foresee resistance to having Detroit in a different time zone than most of the LP of Michigan.  When you combine this with the Detroit vs Toledo consideration, it opens up the possibility of having a time zone in between Eastern and Central (UTC -5 instead of UTC -4½ or -5½).

Fargo, ND -- Sioux Falls SD and Fargo ND are close to where my algorithm says the Central/Mountain TZ line should run.  Sioux Falls calculates as being just barely Central, and I anticipate it would want to stay with Central due to economic ties with Minneapolis/St. Paul and Des Moines.  Fargo calculates as being just barely Mountain...but I could see local pressure to go with Central time.  I shaded the map to highlight the possibility.

North Platte, NE -- My algorithm indicates it ought to be on Mountain time, but it's a small market, and I could see local pressure to stay on the same time zone as central/eastern Nebraska.

Wichita Falls, Abilene, San Angelo, Laredo -- My algorithm indicated these markets are a better fit for Mountain time than Central...but I know there's going to be local pressure to be on the same time zone as Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.

Yuma, AZ -- Indicates as Pacific time.  I can see pressure to go with either Pacific or Mountain time...and I could also see this DMA being split between the two.

Eastern Idaho / Western Montana -- The indicated boundary between Pacific and Mountain time meanders through this region.  I would anticipate the boundary through this region to be driven more by popular/economic pressure than by my algorithm.

Alaska -- The algorithm I use to minimize "error" in the lightness/darkness of critical parts of the day only really makes sense in temperate parts of the world.  Up in Alaska, where days can be either very long or very short...there's going to be "error".   Anchorage should be one hour behind Pacific time.  For the rest of the state...I think locals would be better at figuring out what to do.
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2019, 11:44:55 AM »

I've shown this one before.  The northeast corridor should all be on one time, and that is AST.  I've divided my map based on metropolitan areas and DMA's.  I've renamed MST as Western Standard Time, but for description purposes below, I'll use MST


States that are divided

NY: Rochester and Buffalo EST, rest AST
PA: Philly, Harrisburg, Scranton DMA's, Pike, and Fulton County AST; Pittsburgh, Erie, Altoona DMA's plus Mercer, McKean, and Potter Counties EST
MD: Garrett County EST, rest AST
WV: Washington and Harrisonburg DMA counties AST, rest EST
VA: Washington, Richmond, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Norfolk AST; Roanoke, Bristol, and Greensboro DMA area EST
NC: Norfolk DMA counties AST, rest EST
MN: MSP DMA EST, rest CST
IA: Quad Cities DMA EST, rest CST
MO: Hannibal/Quincy, St Louis, Cape Girardeau DMA's EST, rest CST
AR: Memphis and Jackson DMA counties EST, rest CST
LA: New Orleans DMA EST, rest CST
MT: Billings, Glendive, and Bismarck DMA counties CST, rest MST
WY: Salt Lake City DMA counties MST, rest CST
AZ: Apache County CST, rest MST
WA: Spokane DMA MST, rest PST
OR: Boise DMA counties MST, rest PST
CA: Siskiyou County PST, rest MST



This map should indicate Philly would be nearly completely dark by 4pm around the shortest day of the year from Mid-December to Mid-January.

I also noted elsewhere unintended consequences. This map would also mean much of the green area will have kids walking home from school during dusk or in darkness. People also want kids starting school later...and that would only force more kids into darkness. Heck...many kids would still be in school as the sun sets!

Permanent DST is the only idea that was *SO* bad that it received overwhelming bipartisan support for enactment and the overwhelming bipartisan support for repeal about 8 months later. Forbid it in the US!
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 12:28:02 PM by michravera »
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #46 on: November 04, 2019, 11:56:20 AM »

Permanent DST is the only idea that was *SO* bad that it receive overwhelming bipartisan support for enactment and the overwhelming bipartisan support for repeal about 8 months later. Forbid it in the US!

Tell me why there was overwhelming bipartisan support for the repeal of permanent DST back in the 70s.  What drove it to be repealed?
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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #47 on: November 04, 2019, 12:34:43 PM »

Permanent DST is the only idea that was *SO* bad that it receive overwhelming bipartisan support for enactment and the overwhelming bipartisan support for repeal about 8 months later. Forbid it in the US!

Tell me why there was overwhelming bipartisan support for the repeal of permanent DST back in the 70s.  What drove it to be repealed?

Basically all of the reasons that everyone hates DST in November multiplied by 80.
1) Kids going to school in the dark (and many more waiting for buses or walking to the bus stop in the dark)
2) Traffic accidents in the morning
3) Energy savings (the purpose for which it was enacted) didn't materialize and the big concern about it (because of the Arab Oil Embargo) disappeared.

I have said that, if we find that having afternoon daylight is useful, we can have DST. But, we can't magically make more daylight. If afternoon daylight were as desirable as some people seem to think, people would jump at the chance to work 4AM to Noon. Any takers? Yeah, a couple. But not everyone who could be accommodated!
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 01:45:33 PM by michravera »
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #48 on: November 04, 2019, 12:42:01 PM »

An update to the map I posted in reply #44:


It occurred to me that if I were going to allow for the possibility of "Michigan Time" between Eastern and Central, I ought to allow for the possibility of "Texas Time" between Central and Mountain.

Technically El Paso is too far west for "Texas Time" in this scheme...but I assume that there would be pressure to get most of Texas into one time zone if the idea of being a half-hour different from neighboring areas could be tolerated.
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hbelkins

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Re: Fixing the US's time zones
« Reply #49 on: November 04, 2019, 01:41:35 PM »

The time zones in this country are skewed quite a bit west of where they should be based on longitude.

This assessment of "should be" presumes that the idealized time zone placement involves keeping clock time as close to solar time as feasible while still only working in 1-hour increments.

I would counterargue that there is a reason why time zones are "skewed west", and point out that this phenomenon is not unique to the US, it repeats itself globally. Note how on this map there is a lot more red (places ahead of solar time) than blue (places behind solar time). This suggests that there is perhaps a natural preference for being ahead of solar time, and this is consistent with the reason we have DST: people like later sunsets and dislike earlier sunrises.

Indeed, I have found personally that when I travel, places which are towards the western edge of time zones are more pleasant to be in than places that are towards the eastern edge of time zones - because when operating on a normal schedule the places towards the western edge afford me more daylight to work with.

Ergo, I am going to argue instead that our time zones are not skewed far west enough. I concocted this myself a few months ago:

This includes time zones ranging from GMT-4 (pink) to GMT-11 (red)

This map presents an "always round up" scenario. Except for some small pockets near the eastern edges, solar noon will fall between 12:00 and 13:00 local time when DST is not in effect. (Almost) everyone gets to live ahead of solar time instead of behind it.

Note that this was a quickly thrown together thing so it could stand some potential tweaking in order to better align some areas with the nearest large city. But it's meant to demonstrate the general idea, not to be perfect.

If your pink is Atlantic and your purple is Eastern, I can live with that.
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