Right now the reality is that the district handles public schools, charter schools and non-public schools. Under the current climate, all public schools are fully virtual right now while charter has a couple in person and non-public has the majority of the in person schools. Our goal, as the run optimization side of the project, is to optimize a multi-tier system of runs that maximizes the efficiency of buses and bus drivers. A run is a group of stops serviced by a single vehicle/driver for a school or group of paired schools. A single tier contains all the individual runs of each bus for a discrete time period. By designing a multi-tier system of runs for the buses, we allow for the reuse of buses and bus drivers. Therefore, by designing the optimal multi-tier run schedule for the buses in the Philadelphia School District, we are able to solve both the shortage of bus drivers and the logistical nightmare that is scheduling the runs of each bus.
The design framework we will be using for our project is one of optimization. All three of our team members are experienced in programming and optimization, and we will look to utilize these skills in order to make the most seamless design we can. In terms of specifications for our project, we will look to reach out to our colleagues at the school district in order to see exactly what kind of constraints they want us to address. These constraints will most likely involve limitations such as bus maximum occupancy and the schedule of each individual school. Our metrics will then be how well we satisfy these constraints while attempting to minimize the misuse of resource and total time of runs.