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3 Basic Elements of Transportation Planning

Transportation planning is the process of computing the most-effective routes and modes of transportation for moving goods from one place to another. The primary aim of transportation planning is the identification and evaluation of future transportation needs to create an economical environment for the movement of products.

A well-functioning transportation system is an essential part of any successful supply chain. However, for logistics and manufacturing companies, transport planning is often marred by risks and uncertainties. Most supply chains depend on government-maintained assets and public transport systems such as roads, shipping ports, bridges and railways. As a result, issues linked to inadequate or deteriorating infrastructure, like crumbling bridges and increased road traffic, can greatly diminish the effectiveness and profitability of a supply chain.

Other factors that influence the efficacy of a transport network include rising fuel prices, vehicle capacity constraints, and driver turnover, all of which must be taken into account when planning a route. Consequently, transportation planning can provide competitive differentiation for companies by reducing costs and creating more efficient transport routes.

Let’s look at the basic elements of transportation planning.


To reduce waste and make faster, more accurate deliveries, businesses need to consider 3 crucial factors when designing a transportation route.


When choosing between road, maritime, rail and air shipments, budget is the most important consideration. In a world where fast shipping is not a luxury but an expectation, choosing the right mode of transportation can have a beneficial impact on your bottom line.

  • Are you shipping to an individual or to a business? This might indicate which speed or mode is preferable.
  • Where are you shipping from and to? The origin and destination of your products will determine the total shipping cost and travel time, especially if you’re shipping internationally.

Road transport is generally the most cost-effective means of transporting products to end-consumers. However, if you’re moving a large number of goods inland, then rail may be the most appropriate means.


The United States is currently experiencing an acute driver shortage. Truck drivers are retiring at large numbers with nowhere near enough replacements. But this isn’t just an American problem, as labor shortages are being experienced the world over. Since there are fewer drivers on the road, greater demand is placed on them to ensure reliable yet timely delivery.

Vehicles and drivers are inseparable and indispensable resources for any transportation company making them, arguably, the two most crucial elements of transportation planning. Transportation managers have to analyze the capacity of their existing fleet in order to allocate resources for order planning. You don’t want to underutilize some drivers while burdening others. In the same context, under-utilized vehicle capacity can add to the cost-per-unit carried by the vehicle.

Allocating resources effectively helps companies reduce empty miles and increase the number of deliveries per trip.


Distance to cover plays a crucial role in determining delivery times and customer satisfaction. In a perfect world, traffic congestion would not factor into delivery routes. To avoid road traffic, you’ll have to use digital maps and real-time traffic data to determine the most effective route and save travel time. Traffic planning software collects historical traffic data to predict traffic trends on a particular route. This way, you can better estimate time of arrival to enhance customer experience.

Additionally, it’s important to establish that the maximum travel time per resource (to the planned routes) doesn’t exceed the maximum route distance. The same goes for driver working hours.


Every delivery starts in the warehouse. For companies running their own fleet of delivery vehicles, our Load Planning module is the perfect tool for dispatch managers needing to see orders by route and each order’s progress through the warehouse. For companies using contracted third party logistics providers, the Shipping module can seamlessly integrate into any major shipping line and help you rate shop to select the best carrier.

Last-minute route changes are a headache for any transport manager. Making changes while your drivers are on the road can result in delivery delays and reduction in customer satisfaction. Fortunately, we’ve also included a transportation management system (TMS) module, in addition to dozens of route optimization functions within the software, that allow orders to be moved from route to route depending on truck capacity and freight weight.

The cloud-based solutions within DATASCOPE WMS give real-time visibility into your entire transportation network. This allows you to enhance your fleets’ productivity while reducing the number of trips and saving unnecessary miles, even when faced with unexpected roadblocks, vehicular breakdowns and accidents. Your customers expect a fast and reliable delivery service. Meet their expectations by scheduling a demo of DATASCOPE WMS today.

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