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How One City Saved $5 Million by Routing School Buses With an Algorithm

Part of Boston's school bus fleet.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers won a competition with an algorithm to determine the best solution for busing 25,000 Boston students to school every day.

Credit: pyzata/

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed an algorithm that won a competition held by the Boston Public School District (BPS) to determine the best solution for busing 25,000 students to school every day.

The winning algorithm needed just 30 minutes to improve the efficiency of existing bus routes by 20%.

Previously, 10 school system routers needed thousands of hours to create custom routes for each child and school.

The MIT algorithm routes the entire system at once, providing a base for the human routers to adjust.

The algorithm assigned students to stops, put the stops in order to make no student's ride longer than an hour, and then utilized a multi-school routing approach.

Said BPS senior strategic projects manager Will Eger, "This is a positive example to show how we can use some of the unbelievable research potential that Boston has the offer."

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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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