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Vehicle routing on real road networks

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date18/11/2014
Number of pages149
Awarding Institution
Award date18/11/2014
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The vehicle routing problem (VRP) has received particular attention, in the field of transportation and logistics. Producing good solutions for the problem is of interest both commercially and theoretically. Reliable solutions to real life applications require an approach based on realistic assumptions that resemble real-world conditions. In that respects, this thesis studies vehicle routing problems on real road networks addressing aspects of the problem that need to be modelled on the original road network graph and aims to provide appropriate modelling techniques for solving them.

As a preliminary step, chapter 2 studies the travelling salesman problem (TSP)
on real road networks, referred to as the Steiner TSP (STSP) and proposes alternative integer programming formulations for the problem and some other related routing problems. The performances of formulations is examined both theoretically and computationally. Chapter 3 highlights the fact that travel speeds on road networks are correlated and uses a real traffic dataset to explore the structure of this correlation. In conclusion, it is shown that there is still significant spatial correlations between speeds on roads that are up to twenty links apart, in our congested road network.

Chapter 4 extends chapter 2 and incorporates the findings of chapter 3 into
a modelling framework for VRP. The STSP with correlated costs is defined as
a potentially useful variant of VRP that considers the costs in the STSP to be
stochastic random variables with correlation. The problem is then formulated as
a single-objective problem with eight different integer programming formulations presented. It is then shown how to account for three different correlation structures in each of the formulations.

Chapter 5 considers the VRPs with time windows and shows how most of the
exact algorithms proposed for them, might not be applicable if the problem is
defined on the original road network graph due to the underlying assumption of
these algorithms that the cheapest path between a pair of customers is the same
as the quickest path. This assumption is not always true on a real road network.
Instead some alternative pricing routines are proposed that can solve the problem directly on the original graph.