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Vehicle Routing #001

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The scientific and industrial communities are often unaware of the work of each other. We aim to provide a service where you can find all the information you require, for a specicific specialisation, all on the same web site. We would welcome suggestions for other areas.

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Vehicle Routing: History

On this page, we have started to develop a history of Vehicle Routing. At the moment this focusses on the scientific literature but we would also like to hear about landmarks from the industrial sector.

We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available but you might also want to look at the surveys page, which provides access to a larhe number of survey papers which, by their nature, also provide some historical information.

We would be very happy to hear if you believe anything is missing so that we can consider including it. Please email us at

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The vehicle routing problem was introduced in 1959 by a paper by Dantzig and Ramser.

  • Dantzig G.B. and Ramser J.H. (1959) The Truck Dispatching Problem, Management Science, vol 6, pp 80-91.
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    Abstract: The paper is concerned with the optimum routing of a fleet of gasoline delivery trucks between a bulk terminal and a large number of service stations supplied by the terminal. The shortest routes between any two points in the system are given and a demand for one or several products is specified for a number of stations within the distribution system. It is desired to find a way to assign stations to trucks in such a manner that station demands are satisfied and total mileage covered by the fleet is a minimum A procedure based on a linear programming formulation is given for obtaining a near optimal solution. The calculations may be readily performed by hand or by an automatic digital computing machine. No practical applications of the method have been made as yet. A number of trial problems have been calculated, however.

In 1964, Clarke and Wright introduced a heuristic which improved on the work of Dantzig and Ramser. This heuristic is now referred to as the Clarke-Wright heuristic.

  • Clarke G. and Wright J.V. (1964) The Truck Dispatching Problem, Operations Research, vol 12, pp 568-581.
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    Abstract: The optimum routing of a fleet of trucks of varying capacities from a central depot to a number of delivery points may require a selection from a very large number of possible routes, if the number of delivery points is also large. This paper, after considering certain theoretical aspects of the problem, develops an iterative procedure that enables the rapid selection of an optimum or near-optimum route. It has been programmed for a digital computer but is also suitable for hand computation.

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