Simio Academic Program: University of Pittsburgh Shuttle System

Organization: University of Pittsburgh

by R. Lewis
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Project Objectives

The University of Pittsburgh’s campus extends across a wide area of Oakland, and as a result, many of the university’s buildings are some distance from one another. This is where the university’s eleven shuttle routes play the part of expediting transit for students from one end of campus to another. The goal of this project is to analyze these nine main routes to maximize efficiency in the form of shuttle placement, scheduling, and route management. The goal of this project is also to determine how best to value the weight of maintaining this system and maximizing it when, despite having tangible costs, the value of the system’s benefit is not easily determined numerically.

Summary and Conclusions

There is a lot of work to be done if the Pitt Shuttle system is to see marked improvement. It is not so easy to change a shuttle route in practice, as there are other factors beyond the numeric that bind the system, such as passenger preference. Still, what’s ultimately better for the system is better for the passenger, and there are other ways of improving the system through the use of simulation that are not as jarring as changing routes. Simply redistributing kinds of busses, changing capacity, using better scheduling, and other aspects can be tested in simulation first and applied if they show promise.

In moving forward with this, there is one thing that would greatly help the efforts of simulation, and that is a more accurate tracking system for passengers to board shuttles. As it is, passengers need their Pitt ID, but they need only show it. Scanning or swiping the card would allow for greater accuracy in future simulations.

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