Probabilistic Analysis of Euclidean Capacitated Vehicle Routing

Authors Claire Mathieu, Hang Zhou

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Claire Mathieu
  • CNRS, IRIF, Université de Paris, France
Hang Zhou
  • École Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, France

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Claire Mathieu and Hang Zhou. Probabilistic Analysis of Euclidean Capacitated Vehicle Routing. In 32nd International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 212, pp. 43:1-43:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


We give a probabilistic analysis of the unit-demand Euclidean capacitated vehicle routing problem in the random setting, where the input distribution consists of n unit-demand customers modeled as independent, identically distributed uniform random points in the two-dimensional plane. The objective is to visit every customer using a set of routes of minimum total length, such that each route visits at most k customers, where k is the capacity of a vehicle. All of the following results are in the random setting and hold asymptotically almost surely. The best known polynomial-time approximation for this problem is the iterated tour partitioning (ITP) algorithm, introduced in 1985 by Haimovich and Rinnooy Kan. They showed that the ITP algorithm is near-optimal when k is either o(√n) or ω(√n), and they asked whether the ITP algorithm was "also effective in the intermediate range". In this work, we show that when k = √n, the ITP algorithm is at best a (1+c₀)-approximation for some positive constant c₀. On the other hand, the approximation ratio of the ITP algorithm was known to be at most 0.995+α due to Bompadre, Dror, and Orlin, where α is the approximation ratio of an algorithm for the traveling salesman problem. In this work, we improve the upper bound on the approximation ratio of the ITP algorithm to 0.915+α. Our analysis is based on a new lower bound on the optimal cost for the metric capacitated vehicle routing problem, which may be of independent interest.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Approximation algorithms analysis
  • capacitated vehicle routing
  • iterated tour partitioning
  • probabilistic analysis
  • approximation algorithms


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