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OPTIMIZING SNOWPLOW ROUTES: FORMULATION AND IMPLEMENTATION
- Author / Creator
- Xu, Shuoyan
In this thesis, a new methodological framework was proposed and developed to address several important issues pertaining to snowplow route optimization. The framework defined an extensible snowplow trucks plow-with-precedence problem and captured the impact of the service order of snowplow routes. The tabu search algorithm was used to search for near-optimal routing priority arrangements that balanced the workload between trucks efficiently. The efficiency of the proposed framework was then tested in two case studies: 1) snowplow route optimization in a simulated connected vehicle (CV) environment and 2) a real-world application of snowplow route optimization in Perth County.
The first case study provides a proof of concept for snowplow route optimization in a simulated connected vehicle (CV) environment. In the CV environment, it was implicitly assumed that wireless communication technology can capture the traffic states on the road in real-time (e.g., the road users’ on-route strategies and dynamic travelling decisions), and allows for deep insight into designing user centric winter maintenance strategies. The goal was to minimize both the total travel time of the traffic system and the operating time of the longest truck route. A simulation-based approach was used to simulate real-time communications between the road users and the truck operators in the CV environment. The results suggest that the dynamic routing strategy could save 97.4 hours in total system travel time when compared to the no snow condition. The amount of reduction in the total system delay for a given number of trucks used in plowing operations. The amount of reduction in the total system traffic delay was reduced by 39.3 hours when the number of snowplow trucks in the fleet increased from one to two. As the fleet size increased, the marginal benefit decreased until it became negligible.
Besides contributing to the theoretical expansion of winter maintenance operations, the second case study attempts to optimize snowplow routes by implementing realistic constraints on a real road network in Perth County, Ontario. The primary goal of this case study was to develop efficient plow routing strategies that could make the combined operations more efficient by sharing plow routes and by sharing, or eliminating, material storage yards while taking into account operational constraints. The results indicated that the average route length can be reduced by 3.2% without the changing service boundary or sharing depots. The results also found that by sharing depots, the county could retire 3 depots and 8 trucks without impacting their practical requirements.
- Graduation date
- Fall 2021
- Type of Item
- Master of Science
- This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.