EURO Excellence in Practice Award 2019

The winners of the 2019 EURO Excellence in Practice Award are:

Yves Lucet, Computer Science, University of British Columbia

Warren Hare, University of British Columbia

Towards Optimal Alignment Design for Road Construction – Using Optimization to Design Safe Roads at Minimal Cost

Efficient transportation networks are critical to any economy. Optimizing a road design is a prime application for operational research since saving a few percent may add up to millions even on a single road. Optimization of road design splits the problem into several nested stages. First, promising corridors are selected before a satellite view of the road is traced in each corridor (horizontal alignment problem). Next, cusp and crest are altered to obtain a road design that is safe to drive (vertical alignment problem), and finally materials are optimally moved to their best location (earthwork problem). In this talk, we overview modern techniques and recent advancements in optimization for road design. In particular, we present an integrated model that captures both the vertical alignment and earthwork problem, and computes a globally optimal solution. The cost savings are validated on a representative set of 40-60 roads, with average improvements of 20-30%. The model achieves the required precision by considering side-slopes, multiple materials and various equipment, while keeping the computation time in an acceptable range. The result saves civil engineers significant design times and produce a solution that no human expertise can surpass.


The EEPA 2019 jury consisted of Erik Demeulemeester (chair), John Poppelaars, Ruth Kaufman, Sanne Wøhlk, and Jakub Mareček.

The award was presented at the closing session of the EURO 2019 Conference in Dublin (Ireland).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License and the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).

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