Quotation Anderluh, Alexandra, Nolz, Pamela, Hemmelmayr, Vera, Crainic, Teodor Gabriel. 2021. Multi-objective optimization of a two-echelon vehicle routing problem with vehicle synchronization and 'grey zone' customers arising in urban logistics. European Journal of Operational Research (EJOR). 289 (3), 940-958.




We present a multi-objective two-echelon vehicle routing problem with vehicle synchronization and ’grey zone’ customers arising in the context of urban freight deliveries. Inner-city center deliveries are performed by small vehicles due to access restrictions, while deliveries outside this area are carried out by conventional vehicles for economic reasons. Goods are transferred from the first to the second echelon by synchronized meetings between vehicles of the respective echelons. We investigate the assignment of customers to vehicles, i.e., to the first or second echelon, within a so-called ’grey zone’ on the border of the inner city and the area around it. While doing this, the economic objective as well as negative external effects of transport, such as emissions and disturbance (negative impact on citizens due to noise and congestion), are taken into account to include objectives of companies as well as of citizens and municipal authorities. Our metaheuristic – a large neighborhood search embedded in a heuristic rectangle/cuboid splitting – addresses this problem efficiently. We investigate the impact of the free assignment of part of the customers (’grey zone’) to echelons and of three different city layouts on the solution. Computational results show that the impact of a ’grey zone’ and thus the assignment of these customers to echelons depend significantly on the layout of a city. Potentially pareto-optimal solutions for two and three objectives are illustrated to efficiently support decision makers in sustainable city logistics planning processes.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal European Journal of Operational Research (EJOR)
Citation Index SCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, INF-A, STRAT-A, VW-B, WH-A
Language English
Title Multi-objective optimization of a two-echelon vehicle routing problem with vehicle synchronization and 'grey zone' customers arising in urban logistics
Volume 289
Number 3
Year 2021
Page from 940
Page to 958
Reviewed? Y
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2019.07.049
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377221719306289?via%3Dihub


Consolidation and Coordination in Urban Areas
Anderluh, Alexandra (Former researcher)
Hemmelmayr, Vera (Details)
Crainic, Teodor Gabriel (UQAM/CIRRELT, Canada)
Nolz, Pamela (AIT Vienna, Austria)
Institute for Transport and Logistics Management (Details)
Research Institute for Supply Chain Management FI (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
1112 Logistics (Details)
1121 Operations research (Details)
2804 Transport economics (Details)
5332 Transport economics (Details)
5347 Operations research (Details)
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