Facility location design under continuous traffic equilibrium

Yanfeng Ouyang, Zhaodong Wang, Hai Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents two modeling approaches for median-type facility location design under elastic customer demand and traffic equilibrium in a continuous space. The first approach, following the continuum approximation scheme, builds upon the special case of an infinite homogeneous plane where traffic equilibrium can be described by an ordinary differential equation. The solution to this homogeneous case, sometimes in a closed form, is then used to develop approximate solutions to more general cases (e.g., those in a heterogeneous space). This model provides a computationally efficient way to obtain managerial insights and near-optimal solutions, especially for large problem instances. We also develop a more traditional discrete location model in the form of a mixed-integer program, which builds directly upon a nonlinear partial differential equation description of customer traffic equilibrium. We develop a Lagrangian relaxation based solution approach with an embedded finite-element method subroutine, to separate and solve the location decisions as well as the traffic equilibrium. Numerical experiments are conducted to illustrate applicability of the proposed models and to compare performance of the two complementing modeling approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-33
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Issue numberP1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Continuum approximation
  • Facility location
  • Finite element method
  • Lagrangian relaxation
  • Mixed-integer program
  • Traffic equilibrium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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