Contents of the TRIPPLAN.DOC file
R. E. Analysis
864 Eisenhower Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA. 15228
(C) Copyright 1986 by R. E. Analysis
All Rights Reserved
1. Introduction to TRIPPLAN
TRIPPLAN is a trip planning aid for the IBM PC or compatible
computer. It calculates the shortest route between cities
using mileage data such as that obtained from road maps. In
addition, TRIPPLAN details the shortest route showing each
city and cumulative mileage along the way.
TRIPPLAN was originally developed to demonstrate enhancements
to a "shortest route algorithm" and grew into a practical
tool when highway mileage data was entered into the TRIPPLAN
data files. As a result of the use of scrolling windows to
display the city choices, you will find TRIPPLAN to be easy
to learn and easy to use.
TRIPPLAN can be copied and shared with other people. You can
register as a user. Registration has many benefits which are
described in Section 6.
2. Installation of TRIPPLAN
TRIPPLAN is distributed with the following files:
TRIPPLAN.EXE The TRIPPLAN Program
TRIPTABL.DAT City Names and Mileage Tables
TRIPWELC.DAT Text utilized at start of program
TRIPPLAN.DOC This File
This version of TRIPPLAN reads the .DAT files during
operation and assumes that the files are on the default drive
along with the .EXE file. As TRIPPLAN is written to
operate in a minimal configuration, there are no special
3. Operation of TRIPPLAN
To start the program, simply type:
This will cause the program to be loaded into memory and the
INTRODUCTION screen will appear. This screen describes the
program as follows:
TRIPPLAN Version 2.0
TRIPPLAN is a system that combines the accuracy of
a road map with the capabilities of a computer to
enable the user to quickly find the shortest route
between two cities in a highway network. Instead
of the tedious task of adding up the miles for
various routes manually, you need only select the
origination and destination cities and TRIPPLAN
will quickly identify and report the shortest route.
The only way to escape from this initial screen is to press
the key. You will immediately be greeted with the
OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS screen.
Using TRIPPLAN is easy. Once you exit this window
by pressing , the "Select FROM City" window
will appear. Use the up-arrow and down-arrow keys
to choose the origination city. Press the
key and the "Select TO City" window will appear.
Use the arrow keys to choose the destination city.
Press the key and TRIPPLAN will calculate
the shortest route between the two cities chosen.
To rerun the system after viewing the results,
simply press return. Pressing ends the
program. Pressing "P" prints the results. Read
the TRIPPLAN.DOC file for a more detailed
description of TRIPPLAN's operation.
Now let's review the operating instructions in more
There are four documentation windows at the beginning of
DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY
To escape from any of them the user must press . The
first two of these windows have been described above. The
information in THE COMMERCIAL and DISCLAIMER will be repeated
later in this document.
Following these documentation windows, the user is confronted
by a window that asks you to select the FROM city. This is
the vehicle used to select the origination city for the route
to be calculated. Use the up-arrow to scroll down the list
and line up the origination city with the large arrow at the
top left corner of the window. The down arrow can be used to
scroll up the list if required. Pressing effects
There are 75 cities in the TRIPPLAN V2.0 data base, so it is
possible that the actual origin city you require is not
present on the list. It is recommended that you choose a
city as close to the actual origin city for the calculation.
See Section 6 of this document for information on TRIPPLAN
Version 3.0 which has 125 cities in its data files.
After pressing to exit the "Select FROM City"
window, the "Select TO City" window will appear. This window
is used to select the destination for the route to be
calculated. The same instructions apply to this window as
were detailed for the "FROM City" window.
After pressing to exit the "Select TO City" window,
the "Execution Window" will appear. This window shows the
progress in finding the shortest route during the calculation
phase of the program. TRIPPLAN makes up to 10 passes through
the data files to examine alternate routes and to insure an
NOTE-The solution is optimum for the routes between
the cities in the data files. Read Section 5 of
this document, What Happened to Columbus?, to
understand the possible limitations.
After the optimum solution is found, the "Results Window" is
displayed. A sample result follows:
To Portland ME (132) Total=132
To Boston (103) Total=235
To Hartford (101) Total=336
To New York (118) Total=454
To Indianapolis (734) Total=1188
To St. Louis (244) Total=1432
To Kansas City (250) Total=1682
To Topeka (65) Total=1747
To Albuquerque (730) Total=2477
To Phoenix (460) Total=2937
To San Diego (355) Total=3292
The header describes the FROM and TO cities. The
results read as follows: The starting leg of the trip is from
Bangor to Portland and is 132 miles long. The total miles on
the route at Portland is 132 miles. The next leg of the trip
is from Portland to Boston which is 103 miles and the total
miles on the route at Boston is 235 miles...etc. The number
in the parenthesis by each city is the mileage of the last
leg of the route to reach that city. The total number on the
right side of the report is the total miles on the route when
that city is reached. The last Total= number is the total
miles for the shortest route.
There are 5 keys that can be used from the "Results Window"
The up and down arrows can be used to scroll data in the
window to examine the results.
The "P" or "p" key can be press to cause the printing of
The key can be pressed and TRIPPLAN will
restart from the "Select FROM City" window.
The key can be pressed to end the program.
4. How TRIPPLAN Finds The Shortest Route.
The algorithm for finding the shortest route consists of
making many passes through the data to evaluate alternate
routings. In the first pass, those cities which are direct
links to the origination city are assigned a distance from
the origin city. In the second pass, those cities which are
direct links to the cities assigned distances in pass 1 are
assigned distances to the origin city..each assignment being
the shortest route to the origin city. With each successive
pass, more cities are assigned distances to the origin city
with all cities being reevaluated with each pass. The
program ends when no further cities can be assigned distances
and no changes are made as a result of reevaluation. The
trick to this program is to create internal tables in such a
fashion as to avoid inefficient table lookups to determine
cities and route distances for each city and for each pass.
5. What Happened to Columbus?
If you direct TRIPPLAN V2.0 to find the shortest route
from Pittsburgh to Denver, it very quickly routes you to
Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Topeka and
into Denver in a trip of 1,485 miles. As any Pittsburgh
skier knows, the shortest route to Denver is to head south
from Pittsburgh to Interstate 70, hang a right, and go west
to Denver passing through Columbus to Indianapolis, St.
The question, of course, is why didn't TRIPPLAN route
the trip the shortest way by passing through Columbus? The
answer is that the city of Columbus and all of its route
information is not in the TRIPPLAN data files. It is
important to realize that although TRIPPLAN will find the
shortest route based on cities and routes in its files,
consideration of additional cities and routes that are not in
the TRIPPLAN files could result in a different, more exact
In using TRIPPLAN, the user must be careful to view the
results keeping in mind which cities are in the TRIPPLAN data
files. Be sure to do a reasonability check to make sure the
results make sense!
Here is an example of results that do not make sense.
TRIPPLAN knows that Hartford is approximately half-way
between New York and Boston and has no other route
information about Hartford. If TRIPPLAN is directed to find
the shortest route between Hartford and Albany, it will find
a solution which goes East from Hartford to Boston before
going West to Albany. Although this is an optimum solution
for the information in the TRIPPLAN data files, it is
obviously not appropriate if the user checks a map.
What Happened To Columbus? - Continued
If TRIPPLAN were perfect, the TRIPPLAN files would
contain all cities and all routes between them.
Unfortunately, however, the calculation time to find the
shortest route would be exorbitant and the data storage
requirements would exceed the capacity of even the largest of
The goal is to keep improving TRIPPLAN so that it
contains the interstate and major highway systems. TRIPPLAN
Version 2.0 contains 75 cities and 209 intercity routes.
Version 3.0 will contain over 125 cities. See Section 6 on
"User Supported Software" for details on how to register as a
user and obtain this release.
Oh..What Happened To Columbus? It is recognized in
TRIPPLAN Version 3.0.
6. User Supported Software
TRIPPLAN Version 2.0 is being released as "User
Supported Software". This concept is very much like public
radio in that the effort is supported by direct contributions
from the public rather than commercial advertisement or
publication. The author of TRIPPLAN retains all rights to
the software under copyright laws but allows the system to be
distributed freely. You may look at, keep, copy, etc this
software, but if you use it you are asked to register your
use with the author. To become a registered user, send a
contribution of $10.00 to:
R.E. Analysis, 864 Eisenhower Dr., Pitt sburgh, Pa. 15228
In return, you get an updated release of TRIPPLAN V2.0,
update notices, and any major fixes.
The advantages of "User Supported Software" and registration
You get a chance to test the software on your computer
before you "buy". As part of testing, you get to learn a
great deal about various approaches to software problems,
user interfaces, presentation, and technical capabilities.
The price of the software is much lower than commercial
software. The author does not bear the burden of expensive
advertising, publication costs, and other fees.
6. User Supported Software - Continued
Registration ensures that you have the support of the
author. It is the supreme compliment to a software author
when someone registers to use the program. This encourages
the author to improve the system.
Registration ensures that you know about updates, bug
notices, and fixes.
= TRIPPLAN Version 3.0 will be available by 1/1/87. =
= It will have an expanded data file containing =
= over 125 cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. =
= To obtain and become a registered user of TRIPPLAN =
= Version 3.0 send a registration fee of $15.00 to: =
= R.E. Analysis, 864 Eisenhower Dr.,Pittsburgh, Pa. 15228 =
7. Future Enhancements
TRIPPLAN is currently being enhanced to include most of
the interstate system and other major highways.
There havve been some requests to build a TRIPPLAN
system for specific states that encompasses both the major
highways and minor roads.
A TRIPPLAN system will be developed for the city of
Pittsburgh as soon as Pittsburgh builds some highways.
DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY
The author of TRIPPLAN disclaims all responsibility for any
consequence arising from the use or misuse of the TRIPPLAN
program or documentation. Although great care has been take
in the development and testing of TRIPPLAN, the author does
not warrant that the program will meet your requirements, or
that the operations of the program will be error-free or that
any program defects will be corrected. Simply stated....
USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!
9. Comments and Suggestions
I can be contacted by mail or via the following BBS in
the Pittsburgh area:
Martin Batt, West Penn BBS, (412)-367-2505