Pickup and Dropoff Route Optimization With Time Windows – How to Plan Routes with Pick-Up and Drop-Off Address Pairs That Have Time Windows Constraints
Route4Me’s pickup and dropoff optimization is designed to help non-emergency medical transport (NEMT), food delivery, courier, and many other last-mile businesses to improve their ETAs, drive down operational costs, and optimize their fleet and team resources. Instead of planning one pickup and dropoff trip at a time, Route4Me’s proprietary optimization algorithm permits you to automatically plan routes with hundreds of thousands of pick-up and drop-off address pairs in seconds. Furthermore, your pick-up and drop-off routes can also contain Time Windows that will allow you to specify custom availability hours for each address within each address pair. Thus, you will be able to pick up and drop off all your packages and customers with different visitation hours in the most cost-efficient sequence and make sure that your pickups always go before your dropoffs.
To optimize routes with pick-up and drop-off address pairs that have Time Windows, first, go to “Plan New Route” from the navigation menu and then select the “Upload a File” route planning option.
- Next, go to the “Optimization” tab;
- Select the Multiple Drivers Route optimization type so that Route4Me can plan multiple routes and enable the Time Windows constraint;
- Choose where you want your optimized route(s) to end.
After that, specify the rest of the route’s parameters to your preference and then click on the “Create Route and Proceed to Add Addresses” button.
Next, upload the spreadsheet with joint pick-up and drop-off address pairs into your Route4Me account. For the spreadsheet to be successfully processed, it must contain a Header Row and Data Rows. The Header Row defines the type of information you are importing, while the corresponding Data Rows contain the actual data that is being imported into the system. In addition to the obligatory “Address” column, you can also include other data columns with Route4Me’s reserved attributes and custom data. To learn more about Route4Me’s spreadsheet requirements, visit this page.
After that, make sure to include the “Time_Window_Start” and “Time_Window_End” columns with the information about the Time Windows of each included address. To learn more about Route4Me’s Time Windows Advanced Constraint, visit this page.
To enable the pickup and dropoff route optimization, your spreadsheet must contain the “Pickup” and “Dropoff” columns. To create an address pair where one address will be visited for a pickup and the second address will be visited for a dropoff, this address pair must have the same unique identifier in the “Pickup” and “Dropoff” columns.
After uploading your spreadsheet, Route4Me will automatically process the imported data and display it in the corresponding window. Make sure that all columns contain the correct data and meet the following spreadsheet requirements:
- Specified Time Windows don’t have timing conflicts (i.e., the pick-up Time Window starts later than its corresponding drop-off Time Window, etc.);
- Your routes don’t start later than any of the specified Time Windows;
- All address pairs must not have the same addresses that are marked as a pickup and as a dropoff;
- Each pick-up and drop-off address pair/address field should have the correct pair count;
- The depot (start address) must not be marked as a pickup or as a dropoff;
- A pick-up address must not be the last stop on the route (when locking the last destination);
- In each pick-up and drop-off address pair, the pick-up address must always be placed before its corresponding drop-off address;
- In each pick-up and drop-off address pair, the drop-off address must always be placed after its corresponding pick-up address;
- Make sure that all other parameters of the Multiple Drivers Route optimization are set up correctly.
Click on the “Continue to Review” button to proceed.
Once your route is optimized, all imported addresses will be sequenced in such a way that in each pick-up and drop-off address pair with predefined Time Windows the pick-up address will always be visited before its corresponding drop-off address. NOTE: There can be multiple pickups or dropoffs in a row, but the pick-up address in each address pair will always be visited before its corresponding drop-off address.
If the route with pick-up and drop-off addresses is optimized as a regular route, then this route can have drop-off addresses placed before their corresponding pick-up addresses. NOTE: If you want to insert new or delete the existing route stops from an optimized pick-up and drop-off route, you need to make the preferred modifications in the corresponding spreadsheet and then re-upload it to optimize a new route.
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