Going Beyond GPS to Identify Safe Routes for Heavy Truck Drivers

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Every day millions of people rely on GPS to navigate to and from locations around the world. But what happens if you must frequently travel through an area that is accessed primarily by private roads, or you drive a vehicle that cannot safely navigate on certain routes?

Researchers from the Université Laval, Canada; the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden; and the SDC, Sundsvall, Sweden, conducted research based on the need for drivers of heavy trucks, particularly those working in the forestry industry, to have a route finder that goes beyond the typical GPS tool parameters of shortest and/or fastest route. In Sweden, where nearly two-thirds of the roads are private, a percentage that is even higher in forested areas, GPS tools are limited by the lack of publicly available data for these private roads. As a result, GPS tools may suggest routes that are ill-suited for trucks, leading to high fuel consumption, long driving hours, and driving on dangerous roads, or the GPS tool may be unable to find any route at all.

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The researchers used operations research (OR) methodologies to create a calibrated route finder that collects and analyzes a broader range of data to better identify optimal driving routes for drivers of heavy trucks in Sweden.