Algorithms to improve freight transport?


energia, enginyeria civil


per Servei de Comunicació i Promoció
Maig 2010

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The UPC has developed an algorithm that is able to optimise freight delivery for courier companies, reducing their costs by 7% to 12%.

Miquel Estrada. Centre for Innovation in Transport. Department of Transport and Regional Planning

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For Miquel Estrada, dedication to research in Spain is ‘largely a calling and requires perseverance, responsibility and language skills’.

Estrada holds both an undergraduate degree and a PhD in civil engineering from the UPC, and his doctoral thesis on freight distribution at courier companies won the 5th Abertis Prize. He is currently pursuing research on the logistics and analysis of public transport system operations at the Centre for Innovation in Transport.

With freight transport, the main type of freight being transported is air, because the vehicles, the freight lorries, are almost empty. Achieving a relatively high occupancy rate in a lorry is difficult, and designing a distribution network for courier services or any other type of freight is a highly complex combinatorial optimisation problem. Miquel Estrada has developed a method, specifically, a meta-heuristic algorithm, to optimise these vehicle’s delivery routes, from a given starting point to a given destination, with a view to increasing their occupancy rates.