An Effective Metaheuristic for Multiple Traveling Repairman Problem with Distance Constraints

keywords: Traveling repairmen problem, distance constraints, insertion heuristic, tabu search, variable neighborhood search
Multiple Traveling Repairman Problem with Distance Constraints (MTRPD) is an extension of the NP-hard Multiple Traveling Repairman Problem. In MTRPD, a fleet of identical vehicles is dispatched to serve a set of customers with the following constraints. First, each vehicle's travel distance is limited by a threshold. Second, each customer must be visited exactly once. Our goal is to find the visiting order that minimizes the sum of waiting times. To solve MTRPD we propose to combine the Insertion Heuristic (IH), Variable Neighborhood Search (VNS), and Tabu Search (TS) algorithms into an effective two-phase metaheuristic that includes a construction phase and an improvement phase. In the former phase, IH is used to create an initial solution. In the latter phase, we use VNS to generate various neighborhoods, while TS is employed to mainly prohibit from getting trapped into cycles. By doing so, our algorithm can support the search to escape local optima. In addition, we introduce a novel neighborhoods’ structure and a constant time operation which are efficient for calculating the cost of each neighboring solution. To show the efficiency of our proposed metaheuristic algorithm, we extensively experiment on benchmark instances. The results show that our algorithm can find the optimal solutions for all instances with up to 50 vertices in a fraction of seconds. Moreover, for instances from 60 to 80 vertices, almost all found solutions fall into the range of 0.9 %--1.1 % of the optimal solutions' lower bounds in a reasonable duration. For instances with a larger number of vertices, the algorithm reaches good-quality solutions fast. Moreover, in a comparison to the state-of-the-art metaheuristics, our proposed algorithm can find better solutions.
reference: Vol. 38, 2019, No. 4, pp. 883–916