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The operation process or environment usually has a significant influence on system lifetime. In this paper, a lifetime optimization approach based on linear programming (LP) is proposed to maximize the transportation system lifetime, in which a semi-Markov (SM) model is used to model the operation process. In the proposed method, we first formulate the optimization problem as an LP model that is used to find the optimal transient probability of each state. Then, an analytical method is performed to obtain the corresponding optimal sojourn-time distribution parameters of the SM process. Finally, the proposed approach is applied to a port oil transportation system to show that it can efficiently ensure that the transportation system has a long lifetime.