As of April 2007, the European Union has new regulations concerning driver working hours. These rules force the placement of breaks and rests into the vehicle routes when consecutive driving or working time exceeds certain limits. This paper proposes a large neighborhood search method for the vehicle routing problem with time windows and driver regulations. In this method, the neighborhoods are explored using a column generation heuristic that relies on a tabu search algorithm for generating new columns (routes). Checking route feasibility after inserting a customer into a route in the tabu search algorithm is not an easy task. To do so, we model all feasibility rules as resource constraints, develop a label-setting algorithm to perform this check, and show how it can be used efficiently to validate multiple customer insertions into a given existing route. We test the overall solution method on modified Solomon's (1987) instances and report computational results that clearly show the efficiency of our method compared to two other existing heuristics.
Published October 2009 , 29 pages