A Mathematical Model for Winter Maintenance Operations Management
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Scheduling of winter maintenance operations such as plowing or salting is a difficult and complex problem. Proper selection and timing of such operations is critical to their effectiveness, however scheduling decisions must often be made with strict time and resource limitations imposed upon them. A decision support system which analyses current road conditions and makes scheduling suggestions based on them would be a valuable step toward improving the quality of treatment, while simultaneously reducing the burden of scheduling on maintenance managers. This thesis proposes a real-time scheduling model based on an Operations Research framework that can be used by maintenance managers to develop and evaluate alternative resources allocation plans for winter road maintenance operations. The scheduling model is implemented as an Integer Linear Program and is solved using off-the-shelf software packages. The scheduling model takes into account a wide range of road and weather condition factors such as road network topology, road class, weather forecasts, and contractual service levels, and produces a vehicle dispatch schedule that is optimal with respect to operating costs and quality of service. A number of heuristics are also explored to aid in efficient approximations to this problem.