Given a set of timetabled tasks, the multi-depot vehicle scheduling problem consists of determining least-cost schedules for vehicles assigned to several depots such that each task is accomplished exactly once by a vehicle. In this paper, we propose to compare the performance of five different heuristics for this well-known problem, namely, a truncated branch-and-cut method, a Lagrangian heuristic, a truncated column generation method, a large neighborhood search heuristic using truncated column generation for neighborhood evaluation, and a tabu search heuristic. The first three methods are adaptations of existing methods, while the last two are new in the context of this problem. Computational results on randomly generated instances show that the column generation heuristic performs the best when enough computational time is available and stability is required, while the large neighborhood search method is the best alternative when looking for good quality solutions in relatively fast computational times.

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ERIM Article Series (EAS) , Econometric Institute Reprint Series
Journal of Scheduling
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Pepin, A. S., Desaulniers, G., Hertz, A., & Huisman, D. (2009). A comparison of five heuristics for the multiple depot vehicle scheduling problem. Journal of Scheduling, 12(1), 17–30. doi:10.1007/s10951-008-0072-x