Models and Methods for the City Logistics: The Two-Echelon Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem

Abstract : Freight distribution is a field which is constantly in development, and constitutes an important economy factor. However, in cities, it contributes to the main problems of congestion, pollution, noise and other diseases for the inhabitants of the city. To deal with these problems, a new discipline , called " City Logistics ", has been created in late XXth century, with the aims of reducing the traffic congestion, the air pollution and the noise produced by freight transportation in urban areas. In the last years, several studies and experiences have been developed in Europe, but for the moment, no common policies have been adopted at UE level for urban freight distribution. In Italy, only some small and middle-sized cities have experimented city logistics policies with success, but these experiences are not connected between them. We observe that most of these experiences use Urban Distribution Centers to organize and distribute the different goods, which can be traduced into a multi-echelon transportation system. Several studies in Operations Research have focused on multi-echelon freight distribution system. However, the optimization of the transportation costs is usually calculated without considering the connexion aspects between levels, or by approximating some of them. Another problem derives from the fact that each study uses its own vocabulary and notation, and we observe a lack of unification of terms that increases the difficulty of the bibliographic research. The aims of this research are mainly two: to propose several guidelines for the urban freight distribution planning, unifying some of the terms, and to present a family of vehicle routing problems which consider the transportation costs in multi-echelon distribution systems without separating or approximating each echelon's travel costs. In a first time, we will present the main Italian experiences in urban freight distribution, and the main guidelines to plan an efficient and operative city logistics system, from the conclusions obtained on these experiences. Then, a brief survey in multi-echelon distribution will be presented, unifying the main vocabulary and notation. We will present a new family of transportation cost optimization problems: the multi-echelon vehicle routing problems, focusing on the basic problem, which is the two-echelon case. We propose some mathematical models to solve this problem, a group of benchmarks to test them and the main results of this study, showing the advantages and limits of this modeling approach.
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Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu. Models and Methods for the City Logistics: The Two-Echelon Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem. Operations Research [cs.RO]. Politecnico di Torino, 2008. English. ⟨tel-00844731⟩

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