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Solution of real-world postman problems


  • Irnich, Stefan


The paper presents the results of a study performed by the Deutsche post endowed chair of optimization of distribution networks in collaboration with Deutsche Post World Net with the aim of improving the planning of letter mail delivery. Modelling and solution methods for real-world postman problems are presented which extend one of the most general postman problems studied in the literature, the windy rural postman problem, with regard to several aspects. The discussed extensions include turn and street crossing restrictions, cluster constraints, the option to have alternative service modes (including 'zigzag deliveries'), and the use of public transport to reach the postal district. The solution method is based on a transformation to the asymmetric TSP and uses non-standard neighbourhood search techniques. Extensive computational experiments show that the solution method clearly and consistently outperforms standard TSP heuristics on real-world instances.

Suggested Citation

  • Irnich, Stefan, 2008. "Solution of real-world postman problems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 190(1), pages 52-67, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:190:y:2008:i:1:p:52-67

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hansen, Pierre & Mladenovic, Nenad, 2001. "Variable neighborhood search: Principles and applications," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 130(3), pages 449-467, May.
    2. Glover, Fred & Gutin, Gregory & Yeo, Anders & Zverovich, Alexey, 2001. "Construction heuristics for the asymmetric TSP," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 129(3), pages 555-568, March.
    3. Edward Minieka, 1979. "The Chinese Postman Problem for Mixed Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(7), pages 643-648, July.
    4. Corberan, A. & Marti, R. & Sanchis, J. M., 2002. "A GRASP heuristic for the mixed Chinese postman problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 70-80, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timo Hintsch & Stefan Irnich, 2017. "Large Multiple Neighborhood Search for the Clustered Vehicle-Routing Problem," Working Papers 1701, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universit├Ąt Mainz.
    2. Sun, Li & Zhao, Lindu & Hou, Jing, 2015. "Optimization of postal express line network under mixed driving pattern of trucks," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 147-169.
    3. Nossack, Jenny & Golden, Bruce & Pesch, Erwin & Zhang, Rui, 2017. "The windy rural postman problem with a time-dependent zigzag option," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 258(3), pages 1131-1142.

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