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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/caie

with simultaneous pick-up and deliveries

A. Serdar Tasan a,, Mitsuo Gen b,c

a

Fuzzy Logic Systems Institute (FLSI), Iizuka, Fukuoka, Japan

c

Hanyang University, Ansan, South Korea

b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Available online 29 November 2011

Keywords:

Genetic algorithms

Reverse logistics

Vehicle routing problem with simultaneous

pick-up and deliveries

a b s t r a c t

The vehicle routing problem with simultaneous pick-up and deliveries, which considers simultaneous

distribution and collection of goods to/from customers, is an extension of the capacitated vehicle routing

problem. There are various real cases, where eet of vehicles originated in a depot serves customers with

pick-up and deliveries from/to their locations. Increasing importance of reverse logistics activities make it

necessary to determine efcient and effective vehicle routes for simultaneous pick-up and delivery activities. The vehicle routing problem with simultaneous pick-up and deliveries is also NP-hard as a capacitated vehicle routing problem and this study proposes a genetic algorithm based approach to this

problem. Computational example is presented with parameter settings in order to illustrate the proposed

approach. Moreover, performance of the proposed approach is evaluated by solving several test

problems.

2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

The vehicle routing problem (VRP) was rst introduced by

Dantzig and Ramser (1959). The problem is concerned with delivering goods to a set of customers with known demands through

vehicle routes that begin and nish at the depot with minimum

cost. Capacitated vehicle routing problem (CVRP) is the most elementary version of the VRP and seeks a number of routes for m

number of vehicles with Q units homogenous capacity to minimize

total transportation cost of routes while satisfying the delivery demands of n number of customer nodes. Each route has to start and

nish at the depot and each customer has to be visited exactly once

by one vehicle. Details on VRP and its variants with formulation,

and solution methods can be found in Toth and Vigo (2001).

There are various real cases, where customers require simultaneous pick-up of goods from their location in addition to delivery

of goods to their location and a eet of vehicles originated in a depot serves customers with pick-up and deliveries from/to their

locations. Increasing importance of reverse logistics activities make

it necessary to determine efcient and effective vehicle routes for

simultaneous pick-up and delivery activities. The vehicle routing

problem with simultaneous pick-up and deliveries (VRP-SPD),

Corresponding author. Address: Dokuz Eylul Universitesi Muhendislik Fakultesi, Endustri Muh. Bolumu Tinaztepe Kampus Buca, Izmir 35160, Turkey. Tel.: +90

232 3017619; fax: +90 232 3017608.

E-mail addresses: serdar.tasan@deu.edu.tr (A.S. Tasan), gen@si.or.jp (M. Gen).

0360-8352/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.cie.2011.11.025

to/from customers, is an extension of the CVRP.

In a broader perspective, the VRP can be considered as a combination of the bin packing problem (BPP) and the travelling

salesman problem (TSP). Both BPP and TSP are NP-hard problems

(Falkenauer, 1996; Wolsey, 1998); thus VRP and its variant VRPSPD are also NP-hard.

During the last few decades, the importance of reverse logistics

has shown a rapid increase due to the environmental and economical issues as well as legal obligations. One of the most critical issues that affect the performance of the reverse logistics is the

routing of vehicles. However, efcient and effective vehicle routing

requires high computational efforts. Increasing importance of reverse logistics activities and the computational complexity of

VRP-SPD motivates this study.

The purpose of this study is to introduce an alternative approach to solve VRP-SPD. More specically, this study proposes a

genetic algorithm (GA) based approach, which uses permutation

based representation and ensures feasibility, for solving VRP-SPD

more efciently and effectively.

In order to evaluate the performance of the developed GA based

approach, several test problems from the literature are formulated

as mixed integer linear programming (MILP) models. Results of the

MILP solver are compared with the solution provided by the developed approach.

The rest of the paper is organized as follows; in Section 2, mathematical formulation and details of VRP-SPD are presented. In

Section 3, the details of the proposed approach is introduced. An

756

CVRP for the delivery customers and CVRP for the pickup (backhaul) customers. There are several studies related to VRP-B in the

literature (e.g. Liu & Chung, 2009; Ropke & Pisinger, 2006). The

simultaneous delivery and pick-up activities of VRP-SPD make this

problem more difcult than VRP-B to solve. Additionally, feasibility

issue is more complex in VRP-SPD.

Recently, Gajpal and Abad (2009) applied ant colony optimization to VRP-SPD. Ai and Kachitvichyanukul (2009) proposed a particle swarm optimization for VRP-SPD with random key based

representation. Zachariadis, Tarantilis, and Kiranoudis (2010)

developed an adaptive memory methodology for this routing

problem.

In the following sections, VRP-SPD is formulated as a MILP model based on model given by Dethloff (2001).

Fig. 1. Illustration of VRP-SPD. (For interpretation of the references to color in this

gure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

2.1. Notations

Sets:

proposed approach is evaluated with several test problems and

the results are discussed in Section 5. Finally, Section 6 concludes

the paper with future directions.

J0: Set of all nodes including depot.

V: Set of vehicles.

Parameters:

deliveries

In VRP-SPD customers require simultaneous pick-up of goods

from their location in addition to delivery of goods to their location

as illustrated in Fig. 1. In Fig. 1, red dots represent customer nodes

while blue rectangle represents the depot; red arrows represent

deliveries; green arrows represent pick-ups in customer nodes; solid lines are the arcs between nodes. A number of routes are sought

for v number of vehicles with C units homogenous capacity, that

minimize the total transportation cost of routes while satisfying

the pick-up and delivery demands of the m number of customer

nodes simultaneously. Each vehicle has to depart and return to

the depot and each customer node has to be visited exactly once

by one vehicle.

VRP-SPD was introduced into the literature by Min (1989). His

study considered distribution problem of a public library with 22

branch libraries and 2 vehicles based on the central library. Vehicles serve branch libraries everyday with deliveries and pick-ups

at each branch library. Vehicle routes were determined by a solution approach that based on clustering customers according to

their demands and vehicle capacities rst, and then solving TSP

for each cluster. While determining routes for each cluster, an iterative procedure was used in order to satisfy the feasibility of the

route.

Dethloff (2001) emphasized the importance of VRP-SPD for reverse logistics activities and he investigated the relation between

VRP-SPD and other types of routing problems. He proposed a

mathematical formulation for this problem and developed an

insertion based heuristic, which uses several insertion criteria.

Nagy and Salhi (2005) also proposed insertion based heuristics

in order to solve VRP-SPD. The basic steps of these heuristics are

constructing partial routes for a set of customers, and then inserting the remaining customers to the existing route. They introduced

the concepts of weak and strong feasibility and their proposed approach allowed infeasibilities to occur while searching towards

strong feasibility. The proposed algorithm was extended to deal

with problems with multiple depots.

The vehicle routing problem with backhauls (VRP-B) is another

extension of the VRP and considers both delivery and pick-ups like

VRP-SPD. In the VRP-B, pick-up demands are met after nishing all

cij: Distance between nodes i and j i, j 2 J0, i j.

dj: Delivery amount demanded by customer node j 2 J.

pj: Pick-up amount of customer node j 2 J.

n: Number of nodes.

M: Sufciently large number (e.g. M can be calculated as the

maximum value of either the total customer delivery and

pick-up demands or the total distances between each nodes

as given in (1)).

(

)

X

X X

M max

dj pj ;

cij

j2J

i2J 0 j2J 0 ;i j

Initialize Population

Decoding Routes

Selection

NO

Genetic Operators

NO

Survival

Terminate

YES

END

Fig. 2. Procedure of the proposed methodology.

757

R1

R2

R3

1 5 6 14 3 2 15 10 8 9 4 7 11 13 12

Fig. 3. Genetic representation of chromosome for 15 nodes.

Decision variables:

0

lj: Load of vehicle after served customer node j, j 2 J.

sj: Variable used to avoid subtours, can be interpreted as position of node j 2 J in the route.

xijv: Binary decision variable that indicates whether vth vehicle

travels from i to j.

2.2. Mixed integer linear programming model for VRP-SPD

The objective function of VRP-SPD model is given in (2) as the

minimization of total travelled distance by vehicles those serve

customer nodes.

XXX

Minimize

i2J 0 j2J 0

cij xijv

v 2V

Subject to

XX

xijv 1;

xikv

i2J 0

j2J

v 2V

i2J 0

lv

v 2V

xkjv ;

k 2 J;

dj xijv ;

v2V

j2J 0

XX

i2J 0

j2J

lj P lv dj pj M1 x0jv ;

lj P li dj pj M 1

j 2 J;

v2V

!

xijv ;

i 2 J;

j 2 J;

ji

VRP-SPD belongs to the class of NP-hard problems, for that reason the exact solution methods become highly time-consuming as

the problem instances increase in size. Therefore, due to the combinatorial nature of the VRP and the GAs efciency in solving combinatorial problems, a GA based approach is developed to solve the

vehicle routing problem.

GAs can easily be adapted to various types of problems therefore many different GA approaches exist depending on the problems studied. There are several ways to maintain the population

and several GA operators. However, all GA approaches must have

a good genetic representation of the problem, an initial population

generator, appropriate tness function, and genetic operators such

as crossover and mutation in order to work effectively.

The generalized procedure of the GA approach in this study is

shown in Fig. 2.

The procedure for proposed GA based approach to solve VRPSPD (adapted from Gen, Cheng, and Lin (2008)) is:

procedure: GA for VRP-SPD

input: location data for nodes, delivery and pickup demands,

vehicle capacity and GA parameters

output: the best solution: (routes with shortest total travelled

distance for serving customer nodes with simultaneous

delivery and pick-ups)

begin

t

0;

initialize P(t) by encoding routine;

evaluate P(t) by decoding routine;

while (not terminating condition) do

create C(t) from P(t) by crossover routine;

create C(t) from P(t) by mutation routine;

evaluate C(t) by decoding routine;

select P(t + 1) from P(t) and C(t) by selection routine;

t

t + 1;

end

output the best solution

end

v 2V

0

lv 6 cap;

v2V

lj 6 cap;

j2J

sj P si 1 n 1

!

xijv ;

i 2 J;

j 2 J;

ji

used for genetic representation of the VRP-SPD as shown in Fig. 3.

Direct representation is used to encode routing solution into chromosome. The length of the chromosome determined by the

100

10

Customers

v 2V

sj P 0;

Depot

j2J

80

11

i 2 J0 ;

j 2 J0 ;

v 2V

60

12

Constraint (3) ensures that each customer node is served exactly once. Constraint (4) guarantees that for each customer node,

same vehicle arrives at and leaves this node. Initial vehicle loads

are calculated as in (5), each vehicles initial load is the accumulated demand of all customer nodes assigned to this vehicle. (6)

Balances the load of vehicles after vehicles visit the rst customer

node on their route. For other customer nodes the loads of vehicles

are calculated as in (7) similarly through their routes. (8) and (9)

Impose capacity constraint. Constraint (10) ensures sub tour elimination, and constraint (11) maintains non-negativity of sj and xijv

is a binary decision variable as in (12).

Y

40

20

20

40

60

80

X

Fig. 4. Locations of depot and customer nodes.

100

120

758

D

e

m

a

n

d

Customer Nodes

Fig. 5. Delivery and pick-up demands of customer nodes.

Table 1

Computational results for the parameter settings.

Popsize

Number of generations

II

III

IV

50

100

150

300

300

300

1296

1088

1023

1412

1276

1192

1480

1392

1308

2579

1917

2279

69.92

109.79

158.99

50

100

150

500

500

500

1240

1164

1079

1308

1230

1178

1374

1275

1294

3018

2341

2238

112.67

175.99

270.85

50

100

150

1000

1000

1000

1036

1101

1128

1167

1201

1168

1316

1259

1209

2502

2321

2345

240.15

357.42

545.35

Routes are determined by the capacities of vehicles.

3.2. Initial population construction

The desired number of individuals is generated to obtain a population with desired size. In the proposed methodology, initial

population generation process is based on random permutation.

Due to the characteristic of VRP-SPD, the tness value is calculated as shown in (2) that is the total distance travelled. The solutions are evaluated in terms of their tness values which is

identical to the tness of individuals. The individuals with better

tness values survive while the ones with worse tness values

die. This means that the more costly solutions are removed from

the population while others are remained (survived).

Nagy and Salhi (2005) introduced the concepts of weak and

strong feasibility in their study. In weakly feasible routes, neither

the total pickup nor the total delivery load exceeds the vehicle

capacity. In this study, weak feasibility is guaranteed with our

decoding procedure and routes are determined according to the

vehicle capacity, which ensure that total pickup and delivery loads

through the route never exceeds the vehicle capacity. The load of

vehicle, never exceeds its capacity after visiting each customer

node in strongly feasible routes. To avoid strongly infeasible routes,

a relatively high penalty cost is added to tness value in the proposed approach. Penalty cost occurs each time when the load of

vehicle exceeds capacity. In this study, while decoding procedure

value

3500

3000

2500

50-300

2000

100-300

1500

150-300

1000

IV Average objective

function value of the

population

500

0

values

50-500

100-500

150-500

50-1000

100-1000

150-1000

values

120

100

Y 60

7

40

1

27

20

22

239 16

10

15

13

14

5

28

17

2012 29

34

24

4

R4

R5

25 21

8

33 31

6

18

3

26

80

changes will gradually add some new characteristics to the population, which could not be supplied by the crossover. In the study,

partial-mapped crossover (PMX) and swap mutation (Gen et al.,

2008) are used for genetic operations of permutation based chromosomes. After crossover and mutation, each offspring is evaluated in terms of tness value mentioned before.

The procedure of PMX is as follows (Gen et al., 2008):

R2

R1

R3

20

30

11 19

40

32

60

80

100

759

120

X

Fig. 7. Routes for solution with total distance travelled 1023.

Procedure PMX

input:

Two parents

output: Offspring

step 1: Select two positions along the string uniformly

random. The substring s dened by two positions

are called mapping sections

step 2: Exchange two substrings between parents to

produce children

step 3: Determine mapping relations between two mapping

sections

step 4: Legalize offspring with mapping relationship

strongly feasible routes.

4. Illustrative example and parameter settings

3.4. Selection

reproduction between two parents. It works on a pair of solutions

and recombines them in a certain way generating one or more offsprings. The offsprings share some of the characteristics of the parents and by this way the characteristic are passed onto the future

generations. Crossover operator is not able to produce new characteristics. The other genetic operator is mutation, which is applied

to a single solution with a certain probability. Mutation operator

makes small random changes in the solution. These random

34 customers are served with simultaneous pick-up and deliveries

from/to depot by vehicles originated at depot. Vehicle capacity is

100 units. Location of depot and customer nodes and delivery

and pick-up demands of customer nodes are shown in Figs. 4

and 5 respectively.

Initially, to determine the appropriate population size and number of generations for GA, a pilot study is conducted. The proposed

approach is applied with combinations of population size 50, 100,

150 and number of generations 300, 500 and 1000.

The other parameters used in GA are crossover rate 0.80 and

mutation rate 0.03. Results of several iterations are summarized

in Table 1. For each combination, best objective function value

(column I), average of the best values obtained through several

runs (column II), worst of the best values obtained through several

runs (column III), average objective function value of the population (column IV) as well as computation time as average CPU times

(s) (column V) are given. Also Fig. 6 illustrates these results as a radar graph for column I to column IV.

From these results, it can be concluded that population size 50

combined with number of generations 1000 results in good

methodology, for probabilistically selection of individuals based

on their performance. The roulette wheel selection method scales

the tness values of the members within the population so that

the sum of the rescaled tness values equals to 1. In the roulette

wheel method, the probability of choosing an individual is directly

proportional to its tness value.

3.5. Genetic operators

760

Table 2

The results of the computational experiments.

Problem

Instance

Number of nodes

GA-Best

LB1-CVRP

LB2-CPLEX

LB = MAX(LB1, LB2)

UB(CPLEX)

GA time (s)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

A-n32-k5.vrp

A-n33-k5.vrp

A-n33-k6.vrp

A-n34-k5.vrp

A-n36-k5.vrp

A-n37-k5.vrp

A-n37-k6.vrp

A-n38-k5.vrp

A-n39-k5.vrp

A-n39-k6.vrp

A-n45-k6.vrp

A-n45-k7.vrp

B-n31-k5.vrp

B-n34-k5.vrp

B-n35-k5.vrp

B-n38-k6.vrp

B-n39-k5.vrp

B-n41-k6.vrp

B-n43-k6.vrp

B-n44-k7.vrp

P-n16-k8.vrp

P-n19-k2.vrp

P-n20-k2.vrp

P-n23-k8.vrp

32

33

33

34

36

37

37

38

39

39

45

45

31

34

35

38

39

41

43

44

16

19

20

23

957

781

798

923

1019

959

1115

974

1095

1257

1452

1397

736

865

1263

925

744

1105

1047

1126

479

240

222

569

784

661

742

778

799

669

949

730

822

831

944

1146

672

788

955

805

549

829

742

909

450

212

216

529

414.49

433.78

435.38

429.21

457.69

492.24

474.24

431.23

523.75

504.35

543.28

493.75

83.27

217.37

178.2

194.24

165.47

211.09

249.11

101.08

249.86

154.93

166.96

220.3

784

661

742

778

799

669

949

730

822

831

944

1146

672

788

955

805

549

829

742

909

450

212

216

529

1218.86

904.916

864.15

989.16

1246.58

992.55

1357.16

982.25

1192.65

1304.38

1627.91

1739.49

785.43

1004.02

1457.28

983.84

809.18

1111.01

1067

1227.69

478.63

257.18

266.14

611.98

1000

1000

1000

1000

1140

1000

1533

1000

1000

1047

1940

2660

1000

1000

1000

1000

1000

1000

2090

1000

1000

1000

1000

1000

226

233

266

264

275

287

287

280

286

302

326

333

241

264

274

284

296

311

315

332

181

159

159

235

Additionally combination of population size 150 with number of

generation 300 is preferable when considering CPU time.

The best solution found by the proposed approach is illustrated

in Fig. 7. Total travelled distance by vehicles is 1023. Five vehicles

served 34 customer nodes through:

1:

2:

3:

4:

5:

{depot,

{depot,

{depot,

{depot,

{depot,

In order to evaluate the performance of the proposed approach,

twenty four medium-sized test problems are studied. These test

problems are obtained by adding pick-up demand data to a

selected set of CVRP problems from Augerat et al. (1995). The

pick-up demands are generated as uniformly distributed values

between [0, 26] for compatibility.

34, 4, 28, 5, 30, 11, depot}

12, 10, 16, 9, 23, 1, depot}

33, 3, 27, 24, 14, 22, 15, depot}

29, 17, 20, 7, 13, 32, 2, 19, depot}

2000

UB

GA

LB

1800

1600

1400

Objective Value

Route

Route

Route

Route

Route

function values through the evolution process are given in Figs. 8

and 9 respectively.

1200

1000

800

600

400

200

0

1

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Problem #

Fig. 10. Comparison of the results.

which were previously determined in Section 4, are used as

follows:

Population size = 150.

Maximum number of generations = 300.

Crossover rate = 0.80.

Mutation rate = 0.03.

VRP-SPD problems are formulated as MILP model and CPLEX

10.0 solver (ILOG, 2006) is used for obtaining lower and upper

bounds of the objective function. The best integer feasible solution

given by CPLEX 10.0 after 1000 s are used as an upper bound (UB);

in case of no feasible solution till 1000 s, the rst feasible solution

is considered as UB. CPLEX 10.0 produces lower bounds (LB-CPLEX)

for the problems, however best known CVRP solutions given by

Augerat et al. (1995) can be considered as alternative lower bounds

(LB-CVRP). The results of the computations and CPU times with the

details of test problems are shown in Table 2. Best known CVRP

solutions is higher than lower bounds found by CPLEX for all test

problems, so they are used as lower bounds LB = Max{LBCVRP, LB-CPLEX}. The LB, UB and results of GA based approach are

shown in Fig. 10.

As seen from Table 2 and Fig. 10, proposed GA provides solutions, which are between lower bound and upper bound for all of

the 24 problems. In other words, solutions of the proposed GA

based approach are better than the solutions provided by CPLEX

10.0 solver, which uses branch and bound algorithm for solving

MILP models. In addition, the proposed approach gives better solutions within signicantly shorter time frame when compared with

CPLEX 10.0. Due to the NP-hard nature of VRP-SPD, MILP approach

cannot solve the problem within an acceptable time frame. On the

contrary, GAs perform well on NP-hard problems. Therefore, the

proposed approach provided better solutions than MILP. Considering these results and CPU times, it can be stated that, GA based proposed approach is efcient and performs well.

6. Conclusion

The VRP is a well known combinatorial optimization problem.

Customers require simultaneous pick-up of goods from their location in addition to delivery of goods to their location in some cases.

The VRP-SPD is an extension of the CVRP and considers simultaneous distribution and collection of goods to/from customers. A

eet of vehicles originated in a depot serves customers with

pick-up and deliveries from/to their locations.

VRP-SPD has been receiving growing attention due to the

increasing importance of reverse logistics activities. Also VRPSPD has a combinatorial nature. Due to GAs efciency in solving

complex optimization problems, a GA based approach for solving

VRP-SPD was proposed in this study.

Feasibility issue is more complex and hard to be ensured in

VRP-SPD than in VRP-B due to the simultaneous delivery and

pick-up activities as mentioned in Section 2. This study contributes

to the VRP eld by providing an efcient and effective GA based approach that produces highly feasible routes for VRP-SPD. Details of

761

introducing VRP-SPD and its mathematical formulation. Then, an

illustrative example and parameter settings were presented followed by performance evaluation of the proposed approach with

computational experiments. Twenty four CVRP test problems were

transformed into VRP-SPD problems by adding pick-up demand

data randomly to the selected problems. According to the results

of computational experiments, it can be concluded that the proposed GA based approach both performs well and is efcient.

The results of computational experiments prove that, the solutions

of the proposed approach have both weak feasibility and strong

feasibility. While decoding procedure guaranteed weak feasibility

of solutions, tness value enabled the proposed approach to produce strongly feasible routes.

Direct genetic representation was used for encoding in this

study. Further studies may use indirect representation methods

such as random key based representation to improve solution

quality and efciency of the procedure. Additionally, the proposed

approach may be applied to a real world routing problems with

simultaneous pick-up and deliveries.

Acknowledgment

This research is partly supported by KOFST Project 2010-2011

at Hanyang University.

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