This paper presents a survey of the research on the Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows (VRPTW), an extension of the Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem. In the VRPTW, the service at each customer must start within an associated time window and the vehicle must remain at the customer location during service. Soft time windows can be violated at a cost while hard time windows do not allow for a vehicle to arrive at a customer after the latest time to begin service. We first present a multi-commodity network flow formulation with time and capacity constraints for the VRPTW. Approximation methods proposed in the literature to derive upper bounds are then reviewed. Then we explain how lower bounds can be obtained using optimal approaches, namely, Lagrangean relaxation and column generation. Next, we provide branching and cutting strategies that can be embedded within these optimal approaches to produce integer solutions. Special cases and extensions to the VRPTW follow as well as our conclusions.
Published February 1999 , 39 pages
This cahier was revised in June 2000