Aaron Diederich and Steve Minn of Lupe Development Partners came up with an interesting project to test our traffic engineering skills. They're helping a food distribution company find a new warehouse and they want to use real delivery times as one of the criteria in choosing a new site. The distribution company delivers to about 55 restaurants and grocery stores primarily located within Minneapolis and St. Paul where delivery times during rush hour can be a lot longer than delivery times during off peak periods.
Aaron and Steve narrowed their search down to one site about a mile northwest of the current location and one site about two miles south of the current location. They wanted me to figure out how long the delivery times would be for each of these new sites compared with the delivery times from the current warehouse.
They realized they could use Mapquest to get travel times, but they wanted me to calculate the actual travel times that accounted for congestion. So we factored in the impact of signals and congestion on top of "normal" travel times.
We were able to use sensor data from NAVTEQ and Mn/DOT to calculate the actual travel times from the current warehouse to each of the 55 delivery locations. Then we compared those delivery times to the delivery times from each of the potential new sites. The delivery times were calculated during rush hour and non-rush hour during a normal weekday.
The 330 delivery time runs were provided in a technical memo along with the data crunched as average delivery times from each of the three sites during the a.m. rush hour and a.m. non-peak. The average delivery times for each site ended up being within 10% of each other (not surprising since the warehouse sites are relatively close to each other and centrally located).
Aaron sent me this nice note – "This report is absolutely great! It provides the exact data we’re looking for and is very beneficial to the client in analyzing site options. Great job."
This is a new tool brokers could use when helping warehouse clients who make a high volume of deliveries during rush hours.