Using a GIS-based, Hitchcock algorithm to optimize parking allocations for special events

Clemson, a small college town in South Carolina, deals with a massive over-saturation of its transportation system during special events, especially during home football games, resulting in total system failure. This research has developed a methodology to optimize parking, using a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based transshipment algorithm, and it has produced great time savings compared with the individual, “manual” efforts of thousands of drivers attempting to find spaces where available. As such, this research constitutes an effective implementation of the Hitchcock Transportation Algorithm for solving a transshipment problem applied to parking lot distribution. Because the Hitchcock Algorithm considers the network cost for distributions, it gives very realistic solutions, and so a system equilibrium that minimizes overall system delay has been achieved through optimal parking assignment combined with pre- and post-game traffic control strategies. This has been validated using a simulation model that was developed for evaluating the strategies.