What is Route Optimization?
Route Optimization is the process of determining the most cost-efficient route. It's more complex than simply finding the shortest path between two points. It needs to include all relevant factors such as the number and location of all the required stops on the route. Other things that can influence the result are:
- Number of turns or intersections along the route
- Left hand turns (crossing the line of traffic)
- Best or nearest driver to dispatch on the route
- Traffic congestion for current time of day
- Best approach (access) to a stop on the route
The different route options can quickly add up. With just one vehicle and 10 stops, the number of possibilities is 3,628,800. But if you have a fleet of five vehicles that number jumps to a whopping 37,267,043,023,296,000. This is why route optimization is mostly performed by computer algorithms and advanced heuristics that can quickly narrow down the options.
Route optimization is often illustrated using the popular Travelling Salesman Problem.
Route optimization software can quickly test multiple 'what-if' scenarios to help fleets review the costs of different route options and resource availability e.g. will having fewer vehicles or drivers improve the cost efficiency of our routes.