Vehicle Routing Algorithms

Tackling the Vehicle Routing Problem

The vehicle routing problem is the focus of much academic research but also of great relevance to logistics and transport businesses.

Wikipedia has a nice summary of the academic and technical aspects, while our "Why is logistics planning hard?" summary briefly explains why planning even a single vehicle can be more challenging than might be expected.

This page summarises how MJC²'s vehicle routing software models the rules and constraints that apply to logistics operations to ensure that feasible and cost-effective route plans and schedules are created.

Route Optimization Algorithms

Having decided on the allocation of work (deliveries, collections or other visits) to a vehicle/driver (see below), MJC²'s least cost route optimization algorithms optimize the sequence of locations and path between each.

Factors which almost always need to be modelled for all vehicle types include:

  • One-way streets, restricted junctions, etc.
  • Varying speeds by road type and time of day.
  • Trip routing to avoid toll roads/bridges.
  • Fleet routing taking account of congestion charges.
  • Loading and unloading times and constraints.
  • Vehicle routing costs per mile/km and per hour.

For HGVs and other larger vehicles our truck routing algorithms also take into account:

  • Night time/weekend lorry routing controls.
  • Weight and height restrictions.
  • Low emission zones and constraints.
  • Weight related vehicle routing costs.
  • Altitude related truck routing costs (e.g. trip routing to reduce hill climbing while loaded).

Trip routing, scheduling and optimization is based on customisable criteria and constraints. Graphical map editing tools can be used to overlay ad hoc restrictions such as temporary road closures or anticipated congestion associated with major events.

Integrated Vehicle/Driver Scheduling

MJC²'s vehicle routing software solutions are designed to address large, complex vehicle routing problems for which it is necessary to adopt an integrated approach to planning and scheduling to achieve real savings.

Load building and allocation to vehicles/trailers models capacity, product compatibility, compartments, floor space, axle limits and (multi-)temperature constraints.

Driver scheduling taking account of required breaks, shift patterns, skills and WTD (Working Time Directive) rules.

Warehouse activity including picking, assembly and loading, as well as associated yard and gatehouse constraints.

Customer requirements such as time windows, access constraints and required vehicle types/equipment (e.g. MOL, forklift).

Integration with mapping software allows resulting routes, distribution centres and delivery/collection points to be displayed graphically, while reporting tools include vehicle/driver performance monitoring, utilisation and geographic cost profiling.

 

 

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