Transportation, Logistics, and the Environment
Michel Gendreau, PhD
CIRRELT and MAGI, Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, Canada
For decades, transportation of persons and freight has been causing severe negative impacts on the environment. One of these impacts that immediately comes to mind is the very high level of emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants resulting from congested highways and cities. In the area of logistics, other negative impacts include the waste resulting from poorly designed and recovered products.
Following the heightened environmental consciousness of the 1970's, efforts aimed at minimizing the environmental footprint of transportation- and logistics-related activities have slowly built up. Over time, this trend has accelerated and more systematic initiatives have targeted the development of "environment-friendlier" transportation and logistical systems. Several of these systems rely on advanced operations research models.
In this talk, we will review some of the most significant efforts in this direction. These include, among others, the emergence and development of the fields of City Logistics and Reverse Logistics. We will also discuss briefly the area of Intelligent Transportation Systems, in which a large fraction of the systems that are developed should lead to an important reduction in emissions of pollutants. The end of the talk will be devoted to the recent emergence of planning problems that specifically target reduced emissions, such as, for instance, the Pollution Vehicle Routing Problem, in which one seeks distribution routes that minimize emissions, accounting for several important factors.
MA 310, 5269 Morris Street