The Benefits of Transfers in Crowdsourced Pickup-and-Delivery Systems

Rapid urban growth, the increasing importance of e-commerce and high consumer service expectations have given rise to new and innovative models for freight delivery within urban environments. Crowdsourced solutions – where drivers are not employed by a carrier but occasionally offer their services through on-line platforms and are contracted as required by carriers – are receiving growing attention from industry. We consider a crowdsourced system where drivers express their availability to perform delivery tasks for a given period of time and the platform communicates a schedule with requests to serve. We investigate the potential benefits of introducing transfers to support driver activities. At transfer locations, drivers can drop off packages for pick up by other drivers at a later time. We frame the problem as a Multi-Depot Pickup and Delivery Problem with Time Windows and Transfers, and propose an Adaptive Large Neighborhood Search algorithm that effectively identifies beneficial transfer opportunities and synchronizes driver operations. Computational experiments indicate that introducing transfer options can significantly reduce system-wide travel distance as well as the number of drivers required to serve a given set of requests, especially when drivers have short availability and requests have high service requirements.



View The Benefits of Transfers in Crowdsourced Pickup-and-Delivery Systems