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Dynamic planning algorithm to demystify dredging variables

2022-04-28 Gavin Lipsith

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A new algorithm developed by researchers could help dredging companies plan their projects optimally by avoiding delays associated with opaque local conditions.  The algorithm is unique in that it weighs inputs from local experts to better consider flexible factors such as navigability condition deterioration (shoaling), traffic, economic values and annual budget.

Academics at Rutgers University developed a dredging planning optimization model (DPOM) and a dynamic prioritization planning (DPP) algorithm that factor in known variables, such as the volume of debris expected and availability of nearby confined disposal facilities, as well as the local issues that can make projects even more challenging.

Once all factors are included, the algorithm suggests timing, prioritization and the grouping of projects. It also projects costs, with interest and inflation included, as well as monies likely to be recouped (through repurposing of sand, for example).

The model and algorithm were detailed in a study titled ‘Multi-year planning for optimal navigation channel dredging and dredged material management’, published in the journal Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review this year. The New Jersey Department of Transportation Office of Maritime Resources provided funding and data to support the study.

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