Driving from my old job in the Burlington, MA area to Elmsford, NY (near my new job location at Yorktown Heights) took less than 3 hours. It seemed like a race-course full of caffeine-high jihadi drivers after all those leisurely strolls through the somnolent country roads of Maine. I got a newer GPS product (yet another Garmin) from an e-tailer. Having worked on retail pricing during the past four years, and this being a pre-Black Friday deal, I almost reflexively asked for a price match and sure enough - there was 60$ in savings to be had after pushing against some soft constraints. Since this was Garmin's latest version in the series it wasn't discounted on BF, so it turned out to be a pretty decent deal in the end.
The GPS product, on its short maiden voyage from MA to NY decided to take me through no fewer than four interstate highways: I-95, I-90, I-91, and I-84. The route seemed simpler on paper. I quickly realized that newer does not necessarily mean better. The re-routing algorithm is still ancient even though the newer one allegedly takes traffic congestion into account. To avoid extensive re-calculation of the shortest path in real time, the product continues to merely finds the quickest way to get back to plan. This is an approach typically used in airline online crew recovery ops (even though fancier global optimization algorithms have been available on paper). In general, this is not a bad idea as long as you don't wander off deep into the reservation. Forcing a recalculation enables you to recover the faster (optimal?) route, and my ETA dropped by about 10 minutes. The newer version has an "EcoRoute" option that allows you to find minimal cost paths, in addition to the standard metrics based on distance and time. Looks like you can also plan a trip having multiple intermediate nodes. That looks like a nice TSP structure. An analysis of these new features makes for an interesting post on another day.