This study uses a mathematical optimization approach to design safe walking routes from school to home for children. Children are thought to be safer when walking together in groups rather than alone. Thus, we assume that the risk of walking along a given road segment in a group is smaller than that of walking the same segment alone. At the same time, the walking route between school and home for each child should not deviate substantially from the shortest route. We propose a bi-objective model that minimizes both the total risk (particularly, the total distance walked alone) and the total walking distance for all children. We present an integer programming formulation of the proposed problem and apply this formulation to two instances based on actual road networks. We obtain Pareto optimal solutions using a mathematical programming solver and analyze the characteristics of the solutions and their potential applicability to real situations. The results show that the proposed model produces much better solutions compared with the solution where each child walks along the shortest path from school to home. In some optimal solutions, only a small deviation from the shortest path results in a dramatic reduction of the risk objective.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes