We propose the vehicle routing problem with roaming delivery locations (VRPRDL) to model an innovation in last-mile delivery where a customer's order is delivered to the trunk of his car. We develop construction and improvement heuristics for the VRPRDL based on two problem-specific techniques: (1) efficiently optimizing the delivery locations for a fixed customer delivery sequence, and (2) efficiently switching a predecessor's or successor's delivery location during the insertion or deletion of a customer in a route. Furthermore, we conduct an extensive computation study to assess and quantify the benefits of trunk delivery in a variety of settings. The study reveals that a significant reduction in total distance traveled can be achieved, especially when trunk delivery is combined with traditional home delivery, which has both cost and environmental benefits.
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, February 2017