Model for Planning a Transportation System

by Frank A. Tillman, Prof. and Head; Industrial Engrg. Dept., Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, Kansas,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 2, Pg. 229-238

Document Type: Journal Paper


A dynamic programming model is developed to determine when the links of highways, railroads, waterways and other transportation links should be built in a developing nation so that economic benefits to the country are optimized. It is assumed that at most only one link is built in each planning period. This paper illustrated how dynamic programming can be used to optimize the economic benefits to a developing area by determining when the various links should be built in a transportation system. The reason dynamic programming was used to solve this problem is that the technique is very efficient in determining the optimal solution in this type of problem. If a search of all possible link combinations was made, the time required to solve the problem greatly increases particularly as the size of problem increases. In this example the information was assumed to be deterministic rather than probabilistic. Even so, a probabilistic version of dynamic programming can be used to solve the latter problem. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how dynamic programming can be used in evaluating engineering projects.

Subject Headings: Computer programming | Dynamic models | Optimization models | Rail transportation | Economic factors | Probability | Waterways | Developing countries

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