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Optimal routing of hazardous materials considering risk of spill


  • Patel, Minnie H.
  • Horowitz, Alan J.


The diffusion of gases over wide areas from possible spills during transport of hazardous materials is considered when determining the least risk path through a network. Spills could occur through improper operation of vehicle or container or through a collision. Relationships for minimum risk paths are developed for these cases: specific wind directions, uniform average wind direction, maximum concentration wind directions, wind-rose averaged wind directions and speeds, and multiday routing with uncertain weather conditions. The relationships are illustrated for a full-sized urban network. This paper illustrates, how a Geographical Information System approach coupled with elementary principles of optimization theory can be used to solve such complex routing problems. The mathematics developed also reveals some consistent properties of all routing problems that are generalizable. For short trips the least risk path is invariant with the assumed wind speed, the size of spill, and the toxicity of the material. It is also invariant with the selection between uniform average wind direction and maximum risk direction criteria. A hybrid between numerical and analytical methods was adopted to reduce computation requirements which are still large but acceptable.

Suggested Citation

  • Patel, Minnie H. & Horowitz, Alan J., 1994. "Optimal routing of hazardous materials considering risk of spill," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 119-132, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:28:y:1994:i:2:p:119-132

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    Cited by:

    1. Fang, Kan & Ke, Ginger Y. & Verma, Manish, 2017. "A routing and scheduling approach to rail transportation of hazardous materials with demand due dates," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 261(1), pages 154-168.
    2. Miranda, Pablo A. & Blazquez, Carola A. & Vergara, Rodrigo & Weitzler, Sebastian, 2015. "A novel methodology for designing a household waste collection system for insular zones," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 227-247.
    3. Rodrigo Garrido, 2008. "Road Pricing for Hazardous Materials Transportation in Urban Networks," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 273-285, September.
    4. Zhang, Jianjun & Hodgson, John & Erkut, Erhan, 2000. "Using GIS to assess the risks of hazardous materials transport in networks," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 316-329, March.

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