What is Multi-objective Vehicle Routing Problem (MOVRP)? [Definition and Examples]

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What is multi-objective vehicle routing problem

What is Multi-objective Vehicle Routing Problem (MOVRP)?

Multi-objective Vehicle Routing Problem (MOVRP) is a routing problem that involves finding the most effective way to distribute goods or services to numerous places while satisfying various objectives.

The multi-objective optimization may include decreasing emissions, maximizing vehicle utilization, and minimizing delivery time as well as transportation costs. MOVRP is utilized in a variety of industries, including food delivery, rubbish collection, and vehicle sharing, to properly allocate resources and improve delivery routes.

MOVRP is crucial because it enables companies to cut expenses, boost productivity, and lessen their environmental impact. For instance, MOVRP can assist a waste management company in streamlining the collection routes to cut down on emissions and transportation expenses when collecting trash from various sites within a city.

Key Terminologies Related to MOVRP

To comprehend this vehicle routing problem in a better way, you need to be familiar with the following terms and important terminologies:

  1. Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP): This well-known optimization problem entails determining the best route for a fleet of vehicles to take to deliver goods or services to a set of sites.
  2. Multi-objective Optimization: A subfield of optimization that includes simultaneously achieving numerous, frequently incompatible goals.
  3. Pareto optimal Solutions: Solutions that do not have any other solutions that dominate them for any of the objectives.
  4. Genetic Algorithms: An optimization approach that draws its inspiration from natural selection and uses genetic operators like selection, crossover, and mutation to look for the best answers.
  5. Simulated Annealing: Simulated annealing is a metaheuristic optimization process that locates a function’s global optimum by repeatedly altering one solution in the direction of a better one.
  6. Routing Policies: The set of guidelines that specify the routes used by a fleet of vehicles and how deliveries are performed.
  7. Capacity Constraints: It limits the maximum amount of products or services a vehicle may transport.

It is essential to understand some fundamental terms, to properly approach the multi-objective vehicle routing problem and discover the best solutions that strike a balance between many objectives.

Techniques to Solve Multi-objective Vehicle Routing Problems

The multi-objective vehicle routing problem (MOVRP) has been solved using a variety of methods. The following are a few of the most popular used methods:

1.  Genetic algorithms

This natural selection-inspired optimization method employs genetic operators including selection, crossover, and mutation to look for the best answers. Multiple Pareto optimal solutions can be found with the help of genetic algorithms.

2. Simulated annealing

A metaheuristic optimization algorithm that seeks the best answer of a function by repeatedly altering previous results. Simulated annealing is a potent method for finding the ideal solutions for MOVRP.

3. Ant colony optimization

An optimization approach that makes use of pheromone trails to direct the search for ideal solutions and is motivated by how ants behave. For large-scale MOVRP situations, ant colony optimization is useful in finding ideal solutions.

4. Tabu search

A metaheuristic optimization algorithm that avoids returning to previously investigated solutions by using a taboo list. For resolving MOVRP instances with time windows and capacity restrictions, tabu search is a useful strategy.

5. Exact methods

These optimization methods can be computationally expensive for complex problems, but they ensure the identification of the best solution.

Overall, the multi-objective vehicle routing problem can be solved using these strategies, however, the best approach will depend on the particular situation and constraints at hand. 

Limitations of MOVRP

While MOVRP has many advantages for optimizing vehicle routing, it also presents a number of limitations that must be taken into account:

1. Computational complexity

MOVRP is a difficult optimization problem with numerous objectives and restrictions. Large-scale problems are challenging to address because the computational time needed to identify effective solutions grows exponentially as the problem size expands.

2. Data accuracy

Since even slight inaccuracies in the input data can result in suboptimal or even impossible solutions, data accuracy is essential for solving MOVRP. Finding reliable data can be difficult, especially in situations when the data may be faulty or ambiguous.

3. Scalability

MOVRP becomes more difficult as the number of vehicles, clients, and goals grows. Finding ideal and workable solutions is more difficult as the problem gets bigger.

4. Conflicting goals

MOVRP entails simultaneously optimizing many frequently opposing goals, such as decreasing travel time while maximizing customer satisfaction. It can be difficult to reconcile these competing goals, and there might not be a single ideal answer that fulfils them all.

By carefully considering these limitations, researchers can more successfully apply MOVRP to real-world problems and create more effective and efficient vehicle routing systems.

Examples of MOVRP

Here are some practical examples to show that MOVRP is an effective technique for increasing transportation effectiveness:

  • Waste collection: A waste management business is supposed to pick up trash from various areas throughout a city. In this situation, MOVRP can assist in streamlining the collecting routes to cut down on expenses and emissions.
  • Food delivery: A restaurant sends food to several consumers in a specific location. MOVRP can assist in route optimization by reducing delivery times and transportation costs while maintaining the freshness of the food.
  • Vehicle sharing: A rental car agency must distribute its fleet among various cities’ rental stations. MOVRP can help to allocate vehicles more efficiently thus increasing vehicle utilization and reducing transportation expenses. 

The aforementioned instances demonstrate how adaptable and successful MOVRP is at handling difficult logistical problems.


In conclusion, the Multi-objective Vehicle Routing Problem (MOVRP) is a challenging issue that includes balancing several vehicle routing goals at once. Through the identification of the most effective delivery routes, MOVRP can assist businesses in lowering expenses, boosting output, and enhancing client satisfaction. 

However, MOVRP also presents a number of difficulties that must be taken into account. Nevertheless, MOVRP can offer a potent solution for improving supply chain management and vehicle routing by comprehending these issues and utilizing cutting-edge optimization techniques.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.