New Functionalities and Enhanced Performance

Verso’s API for route optimization is constantly being updated to respond more fully to our users’ needs. The October 2019 update introduces functionalities designed to fine-tune approaches to problem solving and to allow us to solve new kinds of problems as well. This update uses the 1.5 version of VROOM, which is the open-source software we have developed for optimizing itineraries.

Managing Priorities

Example of how to include priorities in problem solving – Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

When a company is faced with limited load capacities or a limited number of available vehicles or man-hours of work, it is sometimes difficult to get everything done. In the example illustrated above, the job that gets left out is not surprisingly the one located furthest away (left). But what if that job had priority? It is now possible to include priorities in problem solving and ensure that the most important jobs appear in the solution (right).

Combining Deliveries and Pickups

Until now, it was easy enough for us to model simple logistical problems, such as when a vehicle leaves a warehouse with loads to be delivered to various places or when it leaves empty and returns after a round of pickups. But out in the field companies usually deal with a more complicated mix of deliveries and pickups, sometimes at the same location. That makes it far more difficult than it might seem to guarantee that solutions take into account actual load capacities, which depend on the pickups already made, the deliveries yet to be made, and the order in which these operations are carried out.

That functionality has now been implemented. We are now able to work with a mix of pickups and deliveries and ensure that we take into account a vehicle’s actual load capacity at any given point.

Enhanced Performance

To be sure, the introduction of these functionalities involves more complex problem solving, but the icing on the cake is that it has not increased the time needed to generate solutions. In fact, that time has actually decreased both because of various efficiency mechanisms built into the new code and because, while the verification tests needed when dealing with combinations of deliveries and pickups are more complex, there is far less need to have recourse to them. The conventional VRPTW benchmarksshow an average decline in calculation time of nearly 40%.

To learn more, check out the on-line documentation for our API and contact us to see how your business can benefit from these new functionalities.

Launch of Verso’s API for route optimization

Verso’s API for route optimization saves time and money and can be easily and seamlessly integrated into any software used for businesses. Following the success enjoyed by clients who have had advanced access to it, we are very pleased to announce its public launch.

Image © Jack Moreh

Resolving Real Problems

To be able to concentrate on what matters most to them, professionals who depend on scheduling for the transportation of persons and merchandise need to devise the most cost-effective routes quickly, both for the logistics of their operations and the services they provide. And this involves working with a large number of variables that are becoming increasingly complex. Our API immediately and automatically generates cost-reducing routes that take into account schedules, transport and intervention times, capacity limits, required features on equipment, expertise in handling, and so on. Integrating our API into software yields immediate rewards and a guaranteed return on the investment.

Performance, Reliability, and Growth

Our API is based on the open-source software VROOM, which stands as a guarantee of its durability. It is designed to adapt to increasingly larger scales and to provide elegant, advantageous solutions in record time. Numerous benchmarks attest to its problem-solving capabilities. By incorporating our API into your software, you will be able to benefit, at no additional cost to you, from the constantly evolving functionality that we will have worked together to predesign.

We invite you to learn more by reviewing the documentation on our API and to contact us to see how we can help improve your current software.

Keolis optimizes service routes in Besançon

Every year, the upkeep of Besançon’s urban transport system requires Keolis to intervene some 18,000 times. The expertise gained from long experience and familiarity with the network has allowed the company to service quickly and efficiently whatever needs attention in the day-to-day maintenance of the system.

A bus shelter in need of a schedule update. – Photo by Samuel Foste

An Increase in Scale

Keolis is also responsible for updating the bus and trolley schedules posted for riders. This requires them to visit all of the system’s bus shelters and schedule posts several times a year, in each instance in a very short span of time. The geographical area Keolis has to cover was recently expanded to include all of greater Besançon, which added 400 stops to the 500 already in place, with most of the new ones located in areas previously unserviced. The increased workload, with its rural setting and significantly longer travel times, had to be worked into the scheduling process. But how was Keolis to do that without the deep knowledge of the terrain that comes from years of experience, such as the knowledge they had of the transport system within the city limits?

Optimizing Service Routes

A sample optimized route plan. – Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

By working in close collaboration with Keolis, we were able to frame the problem in a way that allowed us to take all factors into account and generate a solution optimizing service routes. Reduced travel times made it easier to manage the increased workload. The maintenance teams were able to negotiate the new sectors smoothly by following on smartphones the routes that had been devised. After a successful full-scale trial run, the new approach to devising routes was adopted. It will continue to be used for the scheduling changes to come as well as for the routine inspections carried out at regular intervals throughout the year.

We are proud to have been able to help a key player in the Besançon community open to innovation in both the way the business operates and the tools used to improve its organization. Contact us if you, too, would like to reexamine how best to optimize service routes.