The Optimal Route and Stops for a Group of Users in a Road Network

Radi Muhammad Reza, Mohammed Eunus Ali, Muhammad Aamir Cheema

Recently, with the advancement of the GPS-enabled cellular technologies, the location-based services (LBS) have gained in popularity. Nowadays, an increasingly larger number of map-based applications enable users to ask a wider variety of queries. Researchers have studied the ride-sharing, the carpooling, the vehicle routing, and the collective travel planning problems extensively in recent years. Collective traveling has the benefit of being environment-friendly by reducing the global travel cost, the greenhouse gas emission, and the energy consumption. In this paper, we introduce several optimization problems to recommend a suitable route and stops of a vehicle, in a road network, for a group of users intending to travel collectively. The goal of each problem is to minimize the aggregate cost of the individual travelers' paths and the shared route under various constraints. First, we formulate the problem of determining the optimal pair of end-stops, given a set of queries that originate and terminate near the two prospective end regions. We outline a baseline polynomial-time algorithm and propose a new faster solution - both calculating an exact answer. In our approach, we utilize the path-coherence property of road networks to develop an efficient algorithm. Second, we define the problem of calculating the optimal route and intermediate stops of a vehicle that picks up and drops off passengers en-route, given its start and end stoppages, and a set of path queries from users. We outline an exact solution of both time and space complexities exponential in the number of queries. Then, we propose a novel polynomial-time-and-space heuristic algorithm that performs reasonably well in practice. We also analyze several variants of this problem under different constraints. Last, we perform extensive experiments that demonstrate the efficiency and accuracy of our algorithms.

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