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The purpose of this paper was to determine if GIS routing technology could be used to decrease cost and improve operating efficiency of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a federal agency that provides free medical transportation to clients in need. The VA had limited resources, donated vans, and volunteer drivers to meet the transportation needs of veterans to and from doctor visits and VA centers around the country. With the increased cost of fuel, the VA found itself strained to maintain the level of service required.
For this study client locations were mapped based on address information and analyzed based on existing conditions. The GIS technology was used to calculate an optimum route for pick-up of clients. The length of travel time, distance traveled, and cost were calculated for optimized routes. Fuel cost and vehicle maintenance cost were calculated for the VA logged routes. The optimized costs were compared to the original route cost to see what, if any, saving was realized.
The analysis showed positive results that when the GIS technology was used to optimize travel routes, it significantly decreased the overall travel time, distance, and operating cost of each route. This study demonstrates how GIS technology can be adapted for use by an agency to decrease cost and improve service provided to their clients.