Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2009


Tim Anderon

Course Title

Operations Research in Engineering Management

Course Number

ETM 540


First Student is responsible for school buses in Lewis and Clark County and they are not currently using any software tools for route planning. The literature is full of research on school bus route optimization. The challenge we address in this report is meeting the needs of First Student, with a powerful solution that won’t impact their budget. Our solution is not for the entire district at once, but rather optimizes route segments. A route segment is a section of a route in which the bus stops are not fixed by timing due to transfers or other such restrictions. The model also overcomes the limited number of decision variables in standard excel by only entering the parts of the decision matrix that will have values. This is done by using a single decision variable for each house to stop assignment, and houses are only assigned to stops within a limited walking distance. The model uses goal programming to allow the user to give priority to reducing the number of stops, reducing walking distance for students, or a combination of the two. The user is also able to reduce the preference of a single stop to account for things like over crowding or construction. We show how the change in these preferences impacts the assignment of houses to bus stops. When reduction of walking distance is preferred, more stops are used. In contrast when reduction of stops has highest priority, the fewest possible stops are selected to service each house.


This project is only available to students, faculty, and staff of Portland State University.

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