Modeling a Coal Car Cooperative Transportation Network: Phase 2 – UA10-AECC

Research Experiences for Teachers 2005-2006 UL – UL05-RET
June 15, 2015
Merging Mobile Robotics and RFID Technologies for an Automated Asset Locating System (AALS) – CDP08-AALS
June 15, 2015

Modeling a Coal Car Cooperative Transportation Network: Phase 2 – UA10-AECC

The objective of this project is to develop a simulation model of a process, contruct scenarios, and perform statistical and mathematical modelings of operational problems.


Arkansas Electric Cooperative

Research Team:

Sarah Root, Hector Vergara, Chase E. Rainwater

Universities Involved:

University of Arkansas

Start Date:


End Date:



This project is a continuation of project UA09-AECC. The project’s objective are to refine decision support tool from year-one project to evaluate the potential cost savings of the CCC, propose implementation plan for the installation of a CCC in stages (e.g. initial installation and further expansions based on participants needs), and develop a tactical plan for the formation and scheduling of CCC trains to be shipped to participant plants
This project will develop models and decision support tools to assess the feasibility of a coal car cooperative. It will continue the project initiated in year one to extend the volume and cost feasibility analyses, incorporating operational considerations rather than just strategic considerations in the analysis.This would allow the CELDi research team to use the model as a means to identify potential improvements in the AECC transportation network. These improvements could take many forms such as operational changes, infrastructure improvements or rolling stock improvements, for example, among many others. The CELDi research team will consist of two faculty members – Drs. Sarah Root and Chase Rainwater – and one industrial engineering graduate student.
Some reasonable scenarios for a CCC that have been tested in our study exhibit promise. To determine the operational viability of a CCC, however, it is important to consider operational and policy decisions (e.g., dispatching rules) on the CCC. A simulation model of CCC operations was used to show the effect of demand and supply imbalance as well as the dispatching policy used on the build?up of coal cars at the CCC. In a First In First Out with Lost Sales policy, coal would keep building up at the CCC indefinitely when supply exceeds demand. Also, the simulation model helped to determine that planned CCC resources would experience low utilization when considering only inbound and outbound operations at the CCC. At this low utilization level, the throughput of coal dispatched from the CCC does not vary significantly when the operation times at the CCC increase from a lower bound of 15 minutes to an upper bound of 30 minutes. Results found with the simulation model can be used for planning and sizing the CCC facility that would be needed for a given scenario.