Route impedance based upon shapefile attributes

Discussion created by Railinc on Sep 6, 2012
Latest reply on Aug 3, 2013 by dobbinjp
I am doing some routing over the North American rail network and need some input as to different approaches.

My first approach was to route using mileage as a cost. This works fine. However, I need to extend this so that Network Analyst takes into account track ownership (which is an attribute in the shapefile). I've gotten this to work by creating another field in the shapefile which calculates a new cost based upon miles multiplied by some weighting factor (e.g., if track is owned by XX then add 10% weight to the number of miles). I've defined this as a cost impedance and can use it when routing. The idea is to have routing favor track that is owned by an entity, but at the same time not restrict track that is not owned by that entity.

So my question(s), is this a typical solution? Are there other ways to do this? I am asking because this solution becomes a bit cumbersome once you realize that there are 500+ owners of track. I can certainly add that many fields to the shapefile, but that seems clunky to me.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.