Proposed Solution

We suggest that the Washington University circulator should adjust its route, so it can better serve the areas of high demand while still meeting the students’ needs across campus. The South 40 and Mallinckrodt circ stops have more student traffic, while the Village and engineering school have less student traffic.

Proposed Circulator Route

Proposed Circulator Route

Thus, as shown in the figure to the left, we propose a new route that would meet these student demands and result in a smaller delay in the circ schedule. 

The new route follows a very similar route to the current route, and still makes the same stops at the same places, however instead of looping back along the route after stopping at the village as the old route does, the new path instead goes straight from the village to the South 40 and restarts the route, eliminating the return trip through the route.

As a result, the circ will make more stops at the South 40, where there is the highest student demand. Thus, this new route will reduce the maximum wait time, therefore reducing the delay found in the circulator’s schedule.

Currently, the max wait time for a passenger on the circulator is modeled by:

T = 16x1+112x2+20

where T is measured in minutes, x1 is the number of passengers getting off  the circulator at our start point, x2 is the number of boarding passengers, and 20 is the delay for the circulator to make one full trip around its route. The coefficients of the model come from our observations during data collection. At maximum, 35 passengers disembarking and 35 passengers waiting to board, the maximum wait time is 28.75 minutes. The proposed new circulator route is modeled by:

T = 16x1+112x2+ 15

Where the coefficients are the same but the new delay for one full trip around the route is 15 minutes. This value was obtained through testing of the new route and represents the average time to make the route including stops. At maximum, with 35 for both x1 and x2, the maximum wait time is 23.75 minutes, which is 5 minutes less than the current route. This new route fulfills both our goals, as it reduces wait times while still servicing the same stops the old route did.