Decision Support Systems

Caliper develops sophisticated decision support systems that exploit geographic information systems technology, operations research and statistical methods, and custom software. These systems have been successfully applied to model business expansion, retail planning, and logistics design and deployment.

For Multisystems, Inc. and the Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit District, Caliper has developed a customer information system (CIS). Based upon TransCAD, the system is to be used by telephone operators to provide information on how to travel within the region using public transportation alternatives. The CIS is capable of generating alternative routes based upon traveler preferences and can respond to real-time changes in transit service.

For L'eggs Products (Sara Lee Corporation), Caliper developed a prototype, customized logistics system for route design and scheduling. The goal of this system is to reduce the cost of merchandising and product replenishment in tens of thousands of retail outlets, and to reduce the manual effort required to perform scheduling and workload planning.

The core servicing problem is extremely complex and involves mixed service frequencies, variable service times, and narrow, restrictive time windows at retail locations. Our approach involves application of state-of-the-art clustering algorithms and innovative scheduling heuristics. A significant innovation involves the use of estimated on-road drive times generated by the routing algorithms to improve the accuracy of work load estimates in the route design phase. This facilitates more efficient utilization of vehicles and personnel. A key component of the effort was the development of a TransCAD-based custom decision support system.

For the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) of the U.S. Army, Caliper worked with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (VNTSC) to develop a prototype Strategic Transportation Analysis Decision Support System. Based on TransCAD, this system was designed to help MTMC analyze the relationships between transportation infrastructure and flows of equipment, personnel, and supplies.

For the United States Postal Service, Caliper developed a prototype Postal Customer Service Planning System (PCSP) to assist USPS in optimization of retail service networks. This integrated decision support system merged our GIS+ Geographic Information System with a set of transportation network, facility location, spatial demand, and queuing models. This effort involved development of a customized, user-adaptive interface, with distinct user interfaces for three different classes of end users. The customized application was produced using the GISDK application development environment and macro programming language.

For the U.S. Coast Guard, Caliper developed a system that utilized logistics and routing tools to evaluate fleet size requirements for servicing navigational aids in inland waterways. This project applied routing heuristics that accommodated unusual types of time windows and servicing constraints, as well as mixed fleets of vehicles with different capacities, performance characteristics and service restrictions. The project also involved development of automated network development tools for routing in waterways, where navigation around obstacles is a critical, and indispensable, constraint.