## Why are transportation problems popular applications for DSS?

In the early 1970s, many researchers were trying to apply mathematical programming to business problems. The transportation problem was often discussed as an application that would benefit from computerization. Why? I think it is because this type of problem can be formulated quantitatively and because such problems are often complex enough to benefit from using a model. Also, the allocation of transportation resources among competing uses is of interest to business decision-makers in a number of different industries. In general, real-world transportation problems are often important!

We have seen many different software programs for solving transportation problems, but the basic need remains the same. Managers want help in allocating a scarce resource. The basic problem formulation (cf., Hitchcock, 1941) has been adapted and expanded to a number of situations. A major application is scheduling airline routes. The following examples help explain why solving transportation problems are important to airlines.

David Field in USAToday on

Recently, Southwest Airlines implemented CALEB(TM) Technologies' CrewSolver DSS to reduce the cost from traffic control delays and mechanical and weather-related disruptions. For more information, check the

So using Model-Driven DSS to solve transportation problems can improve profitability!! On a cautionary note Professor N. K. Kwak noted almost 30 years ago that "mathematical programming provides quantitative bases for management decisions -- bases with which management manipulates and controls various activities to achieve the optimal outcomes of business problems. Management can make better and more effective judgment by use of mathematical programming. However, it is no substitute for the decision maker's ultimate judgment." (p. 6) AND in response to a related question: What is a computer-aided routing system (CARS)?

In reply to a question posted by Fred Njankou on

*References*

Davis, J. L. "United overhaul brings decision-making down to earth", InfoWorld,

Field, D. "Airlines pursue the trail of bucks", USAToday,

Hitchcock, F. L. "Distribution of a Product from Several Sources to Numerous Localities", The Journal of Mathematics and Physics, vol. 20, August 1941, pp. 224-230.

Kwak, N. K. Mathematical Programming with Business Applications.

*The above is from Power, D., Why are transportation problems popular applications for DSS? DSS News, Vol. 2, No. 9, April 22, 2001.*

Last update: 2005-08-07 11:37

Author: Daniel Power

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