McCormick | Northwestern Engineering _

Karen Smilowitz

James N. and Margie M. Krebs Professor in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences

Transportation Systems

My research covers a range of transportation modes and cargo types, yet the common elements throughout my work are the opportunities and challenges of introducing operational flexibility in transportation systems. Focusing primarily on freight transportation, I evaluate the trade-offs between the increased system efficiency made possible by operational flexibility and increased challenges of implementation for transportation providers and their customers.


Periodic Routing Problems. Joint work with Michal Tzur, Peter Francis, Maciek Nowak and Tingting Jiang. Our work has introduced the PVRP with service choice (PVRP-SC) to allow visit frequency to become a decision of the model; developed an exact solution method for the PVRP which can solve the PVRP-SC as well; and created the first set of quantitative measures of the operational complexity for the PVRP.


Drayage Operations. Joint work with Alan Erera, Guangming Zhang, and Peter Francis. Developing new modeling and solution techniques for large-scale routing and scheduling problems involving multiple resources.


Design of Large-Scale Logistics Systems. Joint work with Carlos Daganzo Integrating continuous approximation and numerical optimization methods to develop design guidelines and operating plans for large-scale multimode, multiproduct logistics systems.


Flexibility in Delivery Operations. Joint work with Mark Daskin, Tito Homem-de-Mello, Jonathan Turner and Soonhui Lee. This project has focused on incorporating delivery time flexibility in delivery operations.