New Brunswick Canada Dept. of Transportation among finalists for INFORMS Edelman Award

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Ashley Smith
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HANOVER, MD, March 26, 2010 – The New Brunswick Department of Transportation’s analytics team is among six finalists that will compete for the INFORMS 2010 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences in Orlando on April 19 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek.

The finalists for the competition, sponsored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®), include:

The New Brunswick Department of Transportation (NBDDoT) with Remsoft for “Achieving Transportation Asset Management via Operations Research”

The Problem: NBDoT was challenged with maintaining a sufficient level of service throughout the province in the form of a strong transportation system and a limited budget. The goal was to develop a strategic plan for managing New Brunswick’s highway infrastructure using investment-minded thinking. As a public organization accountable to the taxpayer, the Department had to ensure the plans were competent, transparent, and defensible, enabling buy-in from decision makers and support from the public.

The O.R. Solution: The NBDoT team built a basic Linear Programming (LP) model to help evaluate what new or different insights could be generated and how better decisions could be developed using this approach. Results showed that traditional planning methods could not address the exponential deterioration of the highway infrastructure, while the new approach offered a feasible plan with improved conditions at a lower lifecycle cost.

The O.R. component of the framework, developed by the company Remsoft, uses a unique combination of linear programming and heuristic techniques for a goals-based approach. The model incorporates long-term objectives and constraints from an operations-wide view that weighs all options, considers costs, timings, and asset life-cycles, and produces optimal treatments plans and schedules of activities.

The Value: The initial analysis helped secure a three-year commitment from the Government of New Brunswick for a much needed increase over the current funding level. The increased funding helped address the growing infrastructure deficit, allowed the NBDoT to maintain the required levels of service, and assisted the local road-building industry by stabilizing funding. Further, NBDoT realized $72 million (discounted) in savings for the taxpayer annually as a return on its $2 million investment - this amounts to $1.4 billion over the 20 year planning cycle. As of last year there were 1200 fewer kilometers of poor roads than there would have been under traditional funding and approach, and over the next few years this trend is expected to continue improving.

The six 2010 Franz Edelman finalists are:

  1. The Delaware River Basin Commission for “Improving Water Release Policies on the Delaware River through Operations Research”
  2. Deutsche Postal DHS for “Global Brand Assessment”
  3. Indeval for “Indeval develops a new operating and settlement system using Operations Research”
  4. New Brunswick Canada Department of Transportation
  5. Procter & Gamble for “Inventory Optimization at Procter & Gamble: Achieving Real Benefits Through User Adoption of Inventory Tools”
  6. Sasol for “Stochastic Operations Models at Sasol”

This is the 39th year of the prestigious Franz Edelman competition. The winner will be announced at a special awards banquet on April 19 at Applying Science to the Art of Business: the 2010 INFORMS Conference on OR/MS Practice.

Additional information about the 2010 Edelman Competition can be found online at URL. Additional information about the INFORMS Orlando conference is at http://meetings2.informs.org/Practice2010/.

About INFORMS

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial engineering, and telecommunications. The INFORMS website is www.informs.org. More information about operations research is at www.scienceofbetter.org.

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