The team that works on the Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) Solver has started a blog series to dive deeper into topics and help explain how best to model with the VRP solver. We have a list of topics we think are important but the most important ones are what you would like to discuss. Please respond in this thread and let us know what topics you would like us to dive further into on the VRP solver.
Bus routing would be of interest or do people use other software for this task? I see a few posts from circa 2010 with references to ArcLogistics (https://www.esri.com/library/whitepapers/pdfs/k12-school-bus-routing.pdf ). Also took a while to find the High Density Routing tips. Surprised not more questions or maybe it's easier to do than I think
This would be multi layered:
- Selection of bus stop locations (pretty much fixed though would be interesting to see)
- Route school buses
- Route public transport buses (I guess same method, just different input)
- Route trip to school using public transport bus and school bus (throw in a train or ferry for bonus points)
- Optimize bus numbers across depots
- Driver schedules
- Costing figures to run buses under different scenarios
I've just started exploring VRP and still on a steep learning curve. Likely have missed some points above.
Some areas we have to route are relatively small, with few roads, so the route is 'obvious'
One thing that hasn't jumped out at me yet in my initial testing has been how to handle the scattering of students that live near each other and go to different schools. I have assigned all students from one school to one (or two) route. Depot to students to school to depot. All students in that area go to the local school. Thinking as I type this, I guess I'll just make student routes with interchanges vs having a bus dedicated to a school. I'm sure the bus people here will have ideas ... they are doing the routing already!
Apologies for the delay ... now have some 'spare' time.
Another aspect of the routing we have yet to resolve (and haven't broached just yet) is when to have a student change buses (the scattered students point from above)
At the moment we have order pairs for all students (well subset to start with) from home to school and then throw at the VRP solver.
For various reasons, there are some students far from their school and it appears to be an inefficient use of the buses.
I suspect mainly a learning curve thing; ie setting up routes vs what routes a student should take to get to school.
I assume either changing buses along a route or at a dedicated interchange is not a VRP issue?
If we manually decide what interchange a student should be paired to, we would still need to manage the time windows that a different bus would leave the interchange at a time the arriving student could catch.
And one more aspect we have yet to tackle (and have seen something the touches on it) is spreading the load across routes. This is probably a low priority for us as currently more interested in the optimal cost routes.