Original Research

Journal of Engineering Research

, 2:12

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

A framework for an on-demand dangerous goods routing support system for the metro Vancouver area

  • Karim El-BasyounyAffiliated withDepartment of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta
  • , Tarek SayedAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia


This paper proposes a framework that integrates existing climate conditions with a Geographical Information System (GIS) to develop an on-demand dangerous goods (DG) routing support system. The framework focuses on mitigating the risks associated with DG transportation via route selection. Evidently, DG routing involves a number of decisions that require the consideration of multiple and sometimes conflicting risks. As a result, the framework includes a number of different routing criteria pertaining to safety, efficiency, security, and cost. The framework was applied to a large-scale transportation network representing the Metro Vancouver area. The network was represented spatially in a GIS database along with a real-time dispersion plume model to simulate a specific chemical release under local weather conditions. The results show that different routing criteria lead to different optimal route choices. The authors also compared route selection based on the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) for protection and isolation actions with route selection based on dispersion models. The comparison results show that, when employing the ERG in a small spill scenario, decisionmakers are at risk of exposing a large number of individuals to severe health effects. Vice versa, if the ERG was to be followed in a large spill scenario, many individuals who are not at risk would be unnecessarily evacuated. This translates into increased evacuation costs, and wastes the time and effort of emergency personnel. The study shows that these issues are properly addressed if a dispersion model is used to refine the estimation of the impact zone by including measures that are specific to the shipment.


Consequence dangerous goods dispersion model probability risk routing