Extending the range of linear scheduling in highway construction

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Virginia Tech


Linear Scheduling Method is a powerful graphical scheduling method which is best suited for scheduling projects involving repetitive activities. Highway construction projects are excellent examples of projects displaying repetitive characteristics. The research explores usefulness of linear scheduling in highway construction.

The Linear Scheduling Method (LSM) was implemented in the field to schedule highway projects. Problems encountered during the field experience were studied and responses to the problems were identified. The research resulted in a number of advancements to the technique. These are reported in the thesis. The advancements exploit the simplicity and graphical nature of this technique.

The research identified the true potential of a graphical technique in communicating information, and in evaluating scheduling alternatives. The importance of visualization and the role of LSM in planning, execution, and control phases of a project are discussed. The concepts of lateral float and use of LSM as a graphical simulation tool are presented.

A comprehensive description of the linear schedule's format and symbols is presented in the thesis and this will lead the technique towards a standard format. The enhancements to the format and symbols, reported in the thesis, will make the technique more robust, increase its effectiveness, and help in scheduling complex projects using the technique.

The need for representing the information contained in the linear schedules in tabular formats was identified during the field implementation of the technique. The concept of Crew Movement Chart (CMC), which shows deployment and movement of various crews in the project in a tabular format, is presented. The use of spreadsheets and databases to generate the CMC is discussed and a computer software package, LINC, which can be used to generate CMC by input through user-interface screens, is presented.

The need for an interface between the Critical Path Method (CPM) and the Linear Scheduling Method (LSM) was identified during the field experience. This thesis presents a discussion on the development of the computer interface, the Linear Scheduling Software (LSS). A combined computer scheduling system comprising of the LSS and LINC, which can be used to generate linear schedules as well as tabular reports, is presented.