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Vehicle routing and scheduling are two main issues in the hazardous material (hazmat) transportation problem. In this paper, we study the problem of managing a set of hazmat transportation requests in terms of hazmat shipment route selection and actual departure time definition. For each hazmat shipment, a set of minimum and equitable risk alternative routes from origin to destination points and a preferred departure time are given. The aim is to assign a route to each hazmat shipment and schedule these shipments on the assigned routes in order to minimize the total shipment delay, while equitably spreading the risk spatially and preventing the risk induced by vehicles traveling too close to each other. We model this hazmat shipment scheduling problem as a job-shop scheduling problem with alternative routes. No-wait constraints arise in the scheduling model as well, since, supposing that no safe area is available, when a hazmat vehicle starts traveling from the given origin it cannot stop until it arrives at the given destination. A tabu search algorithm is proposed for the problem, which is experimentally evaluated on a set of realistic test problems over a regional area, evaluating the provided solutions also with respect to the total route risk and length.
Journal: Computers & Operations Research - Volume 34, Issue 5, May 2007, Pages 1328–1350