The Pyramidal Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem
This paper introduces the Pyramidal Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (PCVRP) as a restricted version of the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP). In the PCVRP each route is required to be pyramidal in a sense generalized from the Pyramidal Traveling Salesman Problem (PTSP). A pyramidal route is de ned as a route on which the vehicle rst visits customers in increasing order of customer index, and on the remaining part of the route visits customers in decreasing order of customer index. Provided that customers are indexed in nondecreasing order of distance from the depot, the shape of a pyramidal route is such that its traversal can be divided in two parts, where on the rst part of the route, customers are visited in nondecreasing distance from the depot, and on the remaining part of the route, customers are visited in nonincreasing distance from the depot. Such a route shape is indeed found in many optimal solutions to CVRP instances. An optimal solution to the PCVRP may therefore be useful in itself as a heuristic solution to the CVRP. Further, an attempt can be made to nd an even better CVRP solution by solving a TSP, possibly leading to a non-pyramidal route, for each of the routes in the PCVRP solution. This paper develops an exact branch-and-cut-and-price (BCP) algorithm for the PCVRP. At the pricing stage, elementary routes can be computed in pseudo-polynomial time in the PCVRP, unlike in the CVRP. We have therefore implemented pricing algorithms that generate only elementary routes. Computational results suggest that PCVRP solutions are highly useful for obtaining near-optimal solutions to the CVRP. Moreover, pricing of pyramidal routes may due to its eciency prove to be very useful in column generation for the CVRP.
|Date of creation:||25 Mar 2008|
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