Equipment Selection by Dynamic Programming


Choosing among several valid methods for completing a project can be a difficult task. Using one type of equipment throughout the project must be weighed against the cost of mobilizing and demobilizing multiple pieces of equipment. For example, if a site has some piles of soil to move and areas to be leveled, a front end loader and trucks could be used to move the piles of soil. Then either the loader could be used to level the area even though it is certainly not the optimal choice for that operation, or a grader could be brought to the site. The decision must be made in such a way as to optimize the entire project's cost. While the solution may be trivial when deciding between two pieces of equipment, as more tasks and more types of equipment enter the analysis, the difficulty of solving the problem increases exponentially. A method has been developed to determine the optimal solution for problems of this nature. The method uses dynamic programming to determine the solution, and simulation of cost of each technology is performed to help determine how robust the solution is. Because of the cost of running tests for remediation technologies plus the cost of bringing them to a site makes the fixed costs high, an environmental project is used to illustrate the concept.

Meeting Name

5th ASCE Construction Congress (1997: Oct. 4-8, Minneapolis, MN)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Computer simulation; Cost effectiveness; Decision making; Dynamic programming; Problem solving; Project management, Equipment selection, Construction equipment

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 1997 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 1997

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