Oregon State University have been working on a new approach to organize and route truck transportation that could change the way the trucking industry works. Not only does the new idea save millions but it could help improve the way of life for truckers and make freight movement streamlined.
In truck transportation, some of the existing approaches include “point to point,” in which one driver stays with a full load all the way to its often-distant destination; “hub and spoke” systems in which less-than-full loads are changed at selected points; and “relay” networks in which the drivers change but the load stays on the truck.
None of these systems by themselves are ideal for long-haul transport. The hub and spoke system is among the most popular with drivers because they get home much more frequently, but it can be costly and inefficient for full-truckload transportation. Relay networks make sense in theory but are difficult to implement.
The new approach under study combines the relay system and the point-to-point system for full-truckload transport. The researchers at OSU developed a new mathematical approach to optimize the design of the dispatching system for the movement of goods and to minimize the impact on drivers. It’s one of the first models of its type to create a mixed-fleet dispatching system at a large scale.
“We now know this approach can work,” Vergara said. “Compared to point-to-point, this system should cut the length of trips a driver makes by about two-thirds, and get drivers back to their homes much more often. We can also keep loads moving while drivers rest, and because of that save significant amounts of money on the number of trucks needed to move a given amount of freight.”
The computer optimization determines the best way to dispatch loads and tells where to locate relay points, and how different loads should be routed through the relay network.
Truck transportation systems will never be perfect, researchers concede, because there are so many variables that can cause unpredictable problems – weather delays, road closures, traffic jams, truck breakdowns, driver illnesses. But the current system, especially for long-haul, point-to-point transport, is already riddled with problems, and significant improvements based on computer optimization should be possible
Brian Barnes, the owner of The Dispatch Service does not think the system will work. His hotshot dispatch service, provides services owner operators in finding loads which help reduce the truckers time sitting. “Due to the new wave of freight theft, I believe this will make things worse. It would be great to find something that will help fix every woe in the trucking industry.” Barnes said. TDS is a company that was built on improving the problems in the dispatching side of the industry.
It is our opinion, that one driver for one load is the best and safest option. Our question to the University would be…”What would you do about the theft?”