A Tabu Search Algorithm for the Multi-period Inspector Scheduling Problem

17 Sep 2014  ·  Hu Qin, Zizhen Zhang, Yubin Xie, Andrew Lim ·

This paper introduces a multi-period inspector scheduling problem (MPISP), which is a new variant of the multi-trip vehicle routing problem with time windows (VRPTW). In the MPISP, each inspector is scheduled to perform a route in a given multi-period planning horizon. At the end of each period, each inspector is not required to return to the depot but has to stay at one of the vertices for recuperation. If the remaining time of the current period is insufficient for an inspector to travel from his/her current vertex $A$ to a certain vertex B, he/she can choose either waiting at vertex A until the start of the next period or traveling to a vertex C that is closer to vertex B. Therefore, the shortest transit time between any vertex pair is affected by the length of the period and the departure time. We first describe an approach of computing the shortest transit time between any pair of vertices with an arbitrary departure time. To solve the MPISP, we then propose several local search operators adapted from classical operators for the VRPTW and integrate them into a tabu search framework. In addition, we present a constrained knapsack model that is able to produce an upper bound for the problem. Finally, we evaluate the effectiveness of our algorithm with extensive experiments based on a set of test instances. Our computational results indicate that our approach generates high-quality solutions.

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