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Balancing equity and cost in rural transportation management with multi-objective utility analysis and data envelopment analysis: A case of Quinte West

Chialin Chen, Guyves Achtari, Kevin Majkut and Jiuh-Biing Sheu

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 2017, vol. 95, issue C, 148-165

Abstract: Rural transportation management plays a critical role in the sustainable future of human society. Two emerging challenges faced by rural communities today are cost control and equity due to the increasing demand and limited operations resources available and the need to deal with the inevitable tradeoffs among multiple objectives and criteria. In this paper, we develop a new methodology for rural transportation management which takes into consideration of both the equity and cost factors under multiple objectives. We conceptualize and define equity in rural transportation management with the development of new performance measures and an analytical model for decision making with multiple desirable and undesirable objectives. We also develop a heuristic procedure based on data envelopment analysis for characterizing and analyzing the route design choices on the frontier between costs and multi-objective measures of equity. A GIS-based decision support system is constructed to process the extensive data required in our analysis. The new methodology has been successfully implemented by Quinte Access, a not-for-profit organization in a rural community in Ontario, to help redesign bus routes with significant quantitative benefits observed in multiple performance dimensions. It is also expected that the new knowledge, insights, and decision support tools developed through this study for transportation planning, big data management, and transportation service operations can be transferred to other rural communities in order to deliver more sustainable transportation services in rural regions around the world.

Keywords: Rural transportation; Transport equity; Vehicle routing; Multi-objective decision making; Data envelopment analysis; Geographic information systems (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2016.10.015

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