A Hybrid Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithm for Solving Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows

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Vehicle routing problem with time windows (VRPTW) involves the routing of a set of vehicles with limited capacity from a central depot to a set of geographically dispersed customers with known demands and predefined time windows. The problem is solved by optimizing routes for the vehicles so as to meet all given constraints as well as to minimize the objectives of traveling distance and number of vehicles. This paper proposes a hybrid multiobjective evolutionary algorithm (HMOEA) that incorporates various heuristics for local exploitation in the evolutionary search and the concept of Pareto's optimality for solving multiobjective optimization in VRPTW. The proposed HMOEA is featured with specialized genetic operators and variable-length chromosome representation to accommodate the sequence-oriented optimization in VRPTW. Unlike existing VRPTW approaches that often aggregate multiple criteria and constraints into a compromise function, the proposed HMOEA optimizes all routing constraints and objectives simultaneously, which improves the routing solutions in many aspects, such as lower routing cost, wider scattering area and better convergence trace. The HMOEA is applied to solve the benchmark Solomon's 56 VRPTW 100-customer instances, which yields 20 routing solutions better than or competitive as compared to the best solutions published in literature.

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