Low Risk Blockading of the DC Beltway

The pre-conversion Ebeneezer Scrooge must have designed the DMV regulations for the District of Columbia.

In particular the part that reads:

Vehicle suddenly experienced mechanical problems that prevented you from moving it.

Running out of gas is not a valid defense to a ticket.

In addition to a ticket (depending on where you run out of gas), NBC Washington reports towing fees are $100, plus $20 per day storage fees.

Add to that potential damage to your car by the towing company, theft/damage in the towing lot, hassle, plus needing to get to work, it’s a big commitment.

That is, if you use your car to run out of gas to blockade the DC Beltway.

Data science and a little searching to the rescue!

There are many car and commercial/moving truck (hint, hint) locations in the Washington, D.C. area. You can pull up Google Maps for Washington, D.C. and then search for auto rentals:


This is representative only and you will find more locations and a wider selection searching or consulting local resources.

You will owe money on the rental but a rental removes the danger to your car, the hassle of getting your car back and any worries about getting to work (assuming you aren’t arrested of course).

Of course, there are unemployed and under-employed youth who might welcome a chance for a day’s employment driving a car until it runs out of gas on the Beltway. Mean spirited people could construe that as a conspiracy so use your own judgement on the risks.

For a rental deposit, walking around money, plus whatever is due under the rental agreement, at no risk to your vehicle or you, you could have a major impact. #DisruptJ20

I’m still working on the data science aspect of this problem:

The I-495 Loop is four (4) lanes wide, not counting the emergency lanes on the inside and outside.

A naive answer to the question of how many vehicles it takes to blockade all of I-495 (one side) is six (the four travel lanes plus the emergency lanes to insure full stoppage).

The Beltway could be blockaded by six vehicles at any point around its 64-mile length but is that only tactic available to potential blockaders?

Moreover, among the various tactics available to blockaders, what locations/strategies should they consider?

Those and other questions can be explored using public data and data science tools.

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