- My Master’s thesis (under the direction of Russ Meller) looked at designing a high-speed rail network for freight in the United States through the development of an integer linear program. The thought being that in the US drivers may not be willing to give up their cars, but by reducing the number of trucks on the road, we can also positively impact congestion for both freight and passengers travel. I’m a huge fan of public transportation and glad to hear the new generation is as well. A good resource for high speed rail systems is Jean-Paul Rodrigue’s “The Geography of Transport Systems” website. There you can find a World High Speed Rail Systems map, among other interesting facts and figures.
- Turning from rail to rental vehicles, my research colleagues (Debjit Roy and Rene de Koster) and I have developed queuing models to analyze and recommend repositioning policies to maximize profits. In metropolitan areas, the number of rental depots in a condensed area are impressive (i.e., there are 15 Enterprise locations within 10 miles of my apartment in Orlando). Such close proximity lends itself well to shuffling fleet to optimize profits and minimize customer waiting times and we analyze the best way to do so. This work was recognized with an honorable mention award for the 2016 IIE Transactions Focused Issue on Design and Manufacturing Best Applications Paper Award Competition.
- A large proportion of the goods consumed in the Eastern United States come in from Asia into ports on the West Coast. The containers are then put on rail and shipped to the East Coast. Because of the fragmentation of the US railway system, containers must be transferred via truck from one rail head to another. These rail transfer moves are also known as cross-town moves because they require shipments to “cross” a “town.” My coauthor (Luke Neubert ) and I developed an improved routing and scheduling methodology that has been successfully implemented at J.B. Hunt Transport. This was a fun project for many reasons, my two favorite research highlights are (1) successfully applying operations research to an important industry problem and reaping numerous benefits and (2) publishing a paper with my talented husband. This work was featured in the 7th Edition of Production and Operations Analysis textbook by Nahmias and Olsen.