Advancements in continuous approximation models for logistics and transportation systems: 1996–2016

Sina Ansari, Mehmet Başdere*, Xiaopeng Li, Yanfeng Ouyang, Karen Smilowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Continuous approximation (CA) is an efficient and parsimonious technique for modeling complex logistics problems. In this paper, we review recent studies that develop CA models for transportation, distribution and logistics problems with the aim of synthesizing recent advancements and identifying current research gaps. This survey focuses on important principles and key results from CA models. In particular, we consider how these studies fill the gaps identified by the most recent literature reviews in this field. We observe that CA models are used in a wider range of applications, especially in the areas of facility location and integrated supply chain management. Most studies use CA as an alternative and a complement to discrete solution approaches; however, CA can also be used in combination with discrete approaches. We conclude with promising areas of future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-252
Number of pages24
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Continuous approximation
  • Distribution and transit
  • Facility location
  • Logistics
  • Supply chain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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