Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday Statisticz: The rides at Six Flag's Great Adventure

Danny posted these rankings of rides at Super Flag's Great Adventure and telepathically asked me to analyze it to try to find some cool stuff from the data. No problem! It's sort of screwed up, since Jay voted for two rides as #1 (both Kingda Ka and Superman), but I guess if he's cool enough to have a blog with no posts, he's cool enough to vote for have two #1s. He's like the dad in those Verizon commercial.

First, here's the ranking of the rides as determined by their median values:

1) Kingda Ka
2) Nitro
3) Superman
4) El Toro
5) Medusa
6) Batman
7) Scream Machine
8) Skull Mountain
9) Dark Knight

Next, here's the same rankings with standard deviations included, to give a sense of the variance in the votes. Note that almost all of the variance in Dark Knight's ranking came from one data point, much to Danny's chagrin. He called the perpetrator a bad name, which is unfair. Maybe he just really liked Dark Knight?

The variance is actually fairly low, which makes me question whether or not the rankings were entirely independent. Rob and Tyson have exactly the same rankings, which is suspicious on a number of levels.

Finally, I wanted to see why they would rank the rides in this way. I went to Great Adventure's website, and looked at some statistics from each of the rides. First, the rides are all ranked in terms of thrill levels as either "mild," "moderate," or "max." The two rides that these guys ranked lowest, Skull Mountain and Scream Machine, were both "moderate," while the rest of the rides were "max." Next, I wondered if there was a correlation between ride speed and the rankings. But for this we need another chart:

As the maximum speed of the ride decreases, the ranking of the ride decreases as well. There is a strong correlation here, with an r square of 0.659, which is significant with a t=2.146, df = 6, and a one-tailed p = 0.038. I must also note that there are only 8 data points on here, although there were 9 rides. This is because the ride that the group rated the worst, Dark Knight, didn't even have a listing of its maximum speed. I can only presume that Great Adventures didn't list the speed because it is embarrassingly slow, which would have helped improve the correlation.

Anyways, it seems like these Vassar students prefer fast rides to slow ones. Congrats on all graduating, too.