The Arc-Item-Load and Related Formulations for the Cumulative Vehicle Routing Problem

The Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP) consists of finding the cheapest way to serve a set of customers with a fleet of vehicles of a given capacity. While serving a particular customer, each vehicle picks up its demand and carries its weight throughout the rest of its route. While costs in the classical CVRP are measured in terms of a given arc distance, the Cumulative Vehicle Routing Problem (CmVRP) is a variant of the problem that aims to minimize total energy consumption. Each arc's energy consumption is defined as the product of the arc distance by the weight accumulated since the beginning of the route. The purpose of this work is to propose several different formulations for the CmVRP and to study their Linear Programming (LP) relaxations. In particular, the goal is to study formulations based on combining an arc-item concept (that keeps track of whether a given customer has already been visited when traversing a specific arc) with another formulation from the recent literature, the Arc-Load formulation (that determines how much load goes through an arc). Both formulations have been studied independently before – the Arc-Item is very similar to a multi-commodity flow formulation in Letchford & Salazar-González (2015) and the Arc-Load formulation has been studied in Fukasawa et al. (2016) – and their LP relaxations are incomparable. Nonetheless, we show that a formulation combining the two (called Arc-Item-Load) may lead to a significantly stronger LP relaxation, thereby indicating that the two formulations capture complementary aspects of the problem. In addition, we study how set partitioning based formulations can be combined with these formulations. We present computational experiments on several well-known benchmark instances that highlight the advantages and drawbacks of the LP relaxation of each formulation and point to potential avenues of future research.



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