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So, I was looking around for any information about this, but there doesn't seem to be much. I realized partway through looking that it is probably because ride times are variable (duh), but it's still an interesting topic. I am not a roller coaster expert, and some of you might qualify as just that, so I thought I would come here and ask you folks- very sorry if this is already a topic, but a quick search didn't bring anything relevant up

 

Which roller coaster achieves the highest average speed? For extra fun, break it down for each basic 'type' of coaster; traditional lift, launched, shuttle, etc. I'm assuming launched will be the fastest overall; are there any traditional gravity coasters that would exceed that if you subtracted the time it takes to get to the top of the lift hill?

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For non-launched coasters, I'm almost certain Intimidator 305 takes this easily. The ride is short (duration), and after the lift hill, only reaches above 100 feet one separate occasion, which is the first airtime hill. Fury, Leviathan, Steel Dragon and Millennium Force slow down too much by the end of the ride with longer track lengths and a higher average height off the ground, like the B&M hypers.

 

As for launched coasters, I would assume Dragster is a higher average than Kingda Ka with the unbraked tophat and a flat brake run. Basically, the time it spends going slowly on the tower is less than that of Kingda Ka. Don't discount Formula Rossa, though, as it doesn't slow down as dramatically as the strata-coasters.

 

As for wooden coasters, it's more difficult to say. Outlaw Run, Goliath (SFGam), or even Voyage due to the second half could be contenders.

 

This is an interesting topic, and it isn't discussed as often as more common statistics like length or speed. Interested to see some more input.

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The way that the speed of a coaster would vary throughout the track that it traverses is incredibly complex. In order to figure out the real average speeds, we would need to be a client of or on the payroll of the companies that design that specific ride, because while the principles of calculating the average speed are pretty simple (integral calculus; integrating the train's speed with respect to time and dividing it by the time elapsed that it takes to traverse the whole track) the actual equations themselves would likely be too difficult to do by hand. Average speed is extremely variable even on the same ride, because if the train is stacked for a minute, then that 0 mph speed over 60 seconds must therefore be included in the average to be accurate, thus bringing the average way down. It means less for the actual ride's experience, so combined with the difficulty of how to measure it, it appears to be much less marketable and thus less common knowledge because it isn't worth the computational expense to calculate it. (At least as far as my intuition can tell; though I have yet to be employed by a ride design company, I do have 80% of my Mechanical Engineering degree under my belt.)

 

However, with a stopwatch program, Google Earth and Youtube, you can nonetheless come up with some VERY crude approximations of the average speeds of the coaster. Open up a video of any coaster who has recent and very clear Google Earth satellite imagery, and use a stopwatch to measure the time that it takes for the camera (thus the train) to traverse certain sections of track that are visible on Google Earth. Use Google Earth's Measure --> Path tool to determine the distance that the train traveled in the video for that amount of time that you decided, then divide that amount of track traveled by the time elapsed in that specific portion of the Youtube video, then you have the average speed for the train over that stretch of track. Then keep doing this for the rest of the ride, then at the end calculate the average of all of the speeds you recorded. (I'd say that the easiest way to determine landmarks in the Youtube video on where to pause that are also easy to find on Google Earth would be at every support frame for coasters like B&M's and stuff that tend to use simple tubular connections instead of a complex frame like on a wooden coaster, which normal human reflexes would not be able to get an accurate reading otherwise.)

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The way that the speed of a coaster would vary throughout the track that it traverses is incredibly complex. In order to figure out the real average speeds, we would need to be a client of or on the payroll of the companies that design that specific ride, because while the principles of calculating the average speed are pretty simple (integral calculus; integrating the train's speed with respect to time and dividing it by the time elapsed that it takes to traverse the whole track) the actual equations themselves would likely be too difficult to do by hand. Average speed is extremely variable even on the same ride, because if the train is stacked for a minute, then that 0 mph speed over 60 seconds must therefore be included in the average to be accurate, thus bringing the average way down. It means less for the actual ride's experience, so combined with the difficulty of how to measure it, it appears to be much less marketable and thus less common knowledge because it isn't worth the computational expense to calculate it. (At least as far as my intuition can tell; though I have yet to be employed by a ride design company, I do have 80% of my Mechanical Engineering degree under my belt.)

 

However, with a stopwatch program, Google Earth and Youtube, you can nonetheless come up with some VERY crude approximations of the average speeds of the coaster. Open up a video of any coaster who has recent and very clear Google Earth satellite imagery, and use a stopwatch to measure the time that it takes for the camera (thus the train) to traverse certain sections of track that are visible on Google Earth. Use Google Earth's Measure --> Path tool to determine the distance that the train traveled in the video for that amount of time that you decided, then divide that amount of track traveled by the time elapsed in that specific portion of the Youtube video, then you have the average speed for the train over that stretch of track. Then keep doing this for the rest of the ride, then at the end calculate the average of all of the speeds you recorded. (I'd say that the easiest way to determine landmarks in the Youtube video on where to pause that are also easy to find on Google Earth would be at every support frame for coasters like B&M's and stuff that tend to use simple tubular connections instead of a complex frame like on a wooden coaster, which normal human reflexes would not be able to get an accurate reading otherwise.)

 

Why not just time the coaster from beginning to end with a POV and divide by the total length of the track? It might not take into account station and transfer track lengths and stuff, but if you're looking for a very crude measurement, you'll get something.

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^^^Obviously, but I meant crude compared to access to the CAD files as well as sophistication of the method. My method is probably one of the more accurate methods you can do by hand. It just depends on how much time you want to devote to it.

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Don't discount Formula Rossa, though, as it doesn't slow down as dramatically as the strata-coasters.

That was my initial gut feeling, as it retains good speed throughout- I would think the ~5 seconds spent slowed down at the top of KK or TTD would bring the average way down. But, I completely forgot about Furius Baco... dat corkscrew!

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My bet is on Furius Baco. Fastest coaster in Europe, no tophat and minimal height difference.

That was the first coaster that I thought of. Really close to the ground all the time and you hit the brakes pretty fast. I'd also like to know how fast the heartline roll is taken.

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Maverick only does about 50 mph gnostic of the course. The brakes after the launch bring it back down. A ride like Forumla Rossa or Furious Baco never gets below 50 mph. The same is true for Intimidator 305--that ride hits the brakes at least 60 mph.

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To find the average of anything, you simply add all the speed variants up, and then divide by the quantity of variants. But in this case, it is more complex than that since we would always have half of the top speed, because everything starts out at zero.

 

 

So to be more complex, we could subtract the end speed (before it hits the final brakes), and then divide by two.

Whatever coaster has the smallest difference in it's top speed and end speed would be the answer. From what I know, Xcelerator ends at about 60mph, and it's top speed is 82. So it only looses about 22mph in the grand scheme of things. 60 / 2 is 30mph. That's my take on this.

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The way that the speed of a coaster would vary throughout the track that it traverses is incredibly complex. In order to figure out the real average speeds, we would need to be a client of or on the payroll of the companies that design that specific ride, because while the principles of calculating the average speed are pretty simple (integral calculus; integrating the train's speed with respect to time and dividing it by the time elapsed that it takes to traverse the whole track) the actual equations themselves would likely be too difficult to do by hand. Average speed is extremely variable even on the same ride, because if the train is stacked for a minute, then that 0 mph speed over 60 seconds must therefore be included in the average to be accurate, thus bringing the average way down. It means less for the actual ride's experience, so combined with the difficulty of how to measure it, it appears to be much less marketable and thus less common knowledge because it isn't worth the computational expense to calculate it. (At least as far as my intuition can tell; though I have yet to be employed by a ride design company, I do have 80% of my Mechanical Engineering degree under my belt.)

 

However, with a stopwatch program, Google Earth and Youtube, you can nonetheless come up with some VERY crude approximations of the average speeds of the coaster. Open up a video of any coaster who has recent and very clear Google Earth satellite imagery, and use a stopwatch to measure the time that it takes for the camera (thus the train) to traverse certain sections of track that are visible on Google Earth. Use Google Earth's Measure --> Path tool to determine the distance that the train traveled in the video for that amount of time that you decided, then divide that amount of track traveled by the time elapsed in that specific portion of the Youtube video, then you have the average speed for the train over that stretch of track. Then keep doing this for the rest of the ride, then at the end calculate the average of all of the speeds you recorded. (I'd say that the easiest way to determine landmarks in the Youtube video on where to pause that are also easy to find on Google Earth would be at every support frame for coasters like B&M's and stuff that tend to use simple tubular connections instead of a complex frame like on a wooden coaster, which normal human reflexes would not be able to get an accurate reading otherwise.)

 

Why not just time the coaster from beginning to end with a POV and divide by the total length of the track? It might not take into account station and transfer track lengths and stuff, but if you're looking for a very crude measurement, you'll get something.

While I'm not an engineer, I would side with chicken.

*WARNING: MATH*

 

Let's say you have a function (or group of functions) that defines the speed at every given point in time during the ride. You could integrate this to find the total track length.

Now, I may be getting this completely wrong, but the average of a function between points a and b in the domain is just the definite integral from a to b divided by the absolute value of the difference of a and b. Thus, no matter what the actual speed function is, the average should be that same as long as the definite integral between say, start and finish (the track length) in in proportion with the change in the domain (the elapsed time).

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Is it just me or is the average speed simply the length of the track (the ride part) divided by the time it takes from end of lift/launch to the brakes?

The problem is that we don't know how long that part is, only the total length of track so we can make a rough estimation.

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Is it just me or is the average speed simply the length of the track (the ride part) divided by the time it takes from end of lift/launch to the brakes?

The problem is that we don't know how long that part is, only the total length of track so we can make a rough estimation.

 

That is exactly what I wrote on the last page.

 

EDIT: I may have accidentially flipped it, but yeah you are right. (length of track)/(Time it takes to traverse track) should give you average velocity.

 

Quick calculation (From launch to stopped on brakes):

Formula Rossa: 6562 ft/68 seconds = 96.5 ft/s =65.8 mph

Kingda Ka: 3118 ft/42 seconds = 74.2 ft/s =50.6 mph

Furius Baco: 2789 ft/32 seconds = 87.1 ft/s =59.3 mph

 

My timing may have been off but here are some averages.

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Is it just me or is the average speed simply the length of the track (the ride part) divided by the time it takes from end of lift/launch to the brakes?

The problem is that we don't know how long that part is, only the total length of track so we can make a rough estimation.

 

Yes, this is right. Averages are easy to compute, no need to integrate anything or get any piecewise data.

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Is it just me or is the average speed simply the length of the track (the ride part) divided by the time it takes from end of lift/launch to the brakes?

The problem is that we don't know how long that part is, only the total length of track so we can make a rough estimation.

 

Yes, this is right. Averages are easy to compute, no need to integrate anything or get any piecewise data.

 

The situation is being muddied when people try to define a start and end point. Now everybody can argue away about that. Based on the nature of the original question and the poster saying he is not an enthusiasts, he probably means wants average speed of a launch coaster from first launch to final brake run, and he probably wants to know what a traditional coaster averages from the top of the lift hill to the brake run.

 

Of course this becomes more muddied when there are multiple launches and lift hills.

Edited by larrygator
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For lift-to-brakes or launch-to-brakes the revised ride-time is easy to get from POV videos, and you can probably estimate the lift/launch-to-brakes length in most cases pretty accurately by looking at the brakes/station/lift length on google maps (factoring in the pitch of the lift) and subtracting that from the total.

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