A management engineering Capstone Design project that explored the need for pay-and-display parking machines in Toronto took top prize in an international competition.
Milan Preet Kaur, a recent management engineering graduate, presented her team’s Capstone project at the 2019 Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) Undergraduate Operations Research Prize Competition, which took place at the organization’s annual meeting this month in Seattle.
Team members used optimization models to re-evaluate the need for pay-and-display machines throughout Toronto after a drastic increase in mobile payments since the city’s parking authority introduced a mobile-pay app in 2016.
The team’s solution involved developing a data analysis tool that consolidates multiple large-scale datasets on historical parking transactions and a mathematical optimization methodology that finds the optimal number and locations of parking payment options while minimizing operational and maintenance costs.
“These tools are expected to help the city save millions of dollars annually,” says Houra Mahmoudzadeh, a management engineering professor and the team’s faculty adviser.
Only Canadian finalist
Waterloo’s project was one six to be presented at the INFORMS annual meeting. The other five were from the U.S. (University of Michigan, Northwestern University and University of California at Berkeley), Germany (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Turkey (TOBB University of Economics and Technology).
With over 12,500 members from around the globe, INFORMS is the leading international association for professionals in operations research and analytics.
Earlier this year, the management engineering Capstone Design project captured first place in the undergraduate category of the Canadian Operational Research Society Student Paper Competition.