Case Studies

Routing System for Meals on Wheels

Bartholdi, J. J, Collins, R. L., Platzman, L.K., & Warden, W. H. (1983). A Minimal Technology Routing System for Meals on Wheels. Interfaces, 13(3), 1-8.

Researchers at the Production and Distribution Center of the Georgia Institute of Technology help the Atlanta "Meals on Wheels" program (MOW) save time delivering meals. The researchers were able to develop a method that allows the MOW manager to construct efficient delivery routes from an ever-changing list of clients.

The routing system that MOW uses consists of a map, a table of q values, and two Rolodex card files. The map is a regular street map of Atlanta, the table of values was calculated based on the (x,y) coordinates of any destination on the map. The Rolodex files are for the clients. The first contains an alphabetized list of all the clients being served. The second list has the client's q number. Using this information the research team developed optimum routes for the MOW deliveries.

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