Route Optimization Problem: Seating Preference

The need for seamless transportation systems has never been more critical in modern times. Managing tasks, orders, and routes efficiently while minimizing costs has become a cornerstone of success in a variety of industries. Explore’s Route Optimization API, a powerful tool that enables businesses to intelligently manage their tasks, create optimal routes and improve customer satisfaction. In this technical notebook, we’ll go over the API’s capabilities in demonstrating how to find optimal solutions that meet customers’ seating preferences. 

Seating Preference

Seating preference is an important consideration in route planning because it takes into account the preferences of passengers or customers to occupy specific seats within a vehicle. This preference can have a significant impact on passengers’ overall travel experience, comfort, and satisfaction. When it comes to passenger comfort and personalized service, incorporating seating preference into route planning becomes critical.


Services for Passenger Transportation

Platforms for Ride-Sharing: Many ride-sharing services allow passengers to specify their preferred seating location. Some passengers may prefer to sit in the front seat for a more interactive experience, while others may prefer to sit in the back. By incorporating seating preference into route planning, passengers are assigned to seats that correspond to their preferences, improving the overall quality of their journey.

Public Transportation: Seating preferences can help public transportation such as buses or shuttle services. Elderly or disabled passengers may prefer front seats for ease of access, while others may have specific seating preferences. Route planning that takes these preferences into account promotes inclusivity and customer satisfaction.

Passenger Delivery Services

Courier Services with Passenger Rides: When courier services provide ride-along options, incorporating seating preference becomes critical. Passengers accompanying the delivery driver may have preferences, and a well-optimized route that takes these preferences into account can result in smoother and more pleasant journeys.

Corporate Transportation

Employee Transportation: Companies that provide shuttle services to employees frequently accommodate seating preferences. Executives or personnel may have preferences that improve their productivity while commuting. Including these preferences in route planning improves employee well-being and productivity.

Capacity Constraint

Another important consideration in route planning is a capacity constraint, particularly in scenarios involving vehicles with limited seating or cargo capacity. It ensures that a vehicle’s total demand does not exceed its maximum capacity, promoting safe and efficient transportation.


Public Transportation

Seating capacity on public transportation vehicles is limited. Route planning must allocate passengers in such a way that this capacity is respected while travel time is minimized. This reduces crowding and promotes a pleasant commuting experience.

Delivery ServicesCourier and parcel delivery vehicles are limited in the number of packages they can transport. Optimizing delivery routes while adhering to these capacity constraints ensures efficient resource utilization and avoids overloading.

Event Transportation: Shuttle Services for Events: Shuttle services transport attendees during events or conferences. Capacity constraints ensure that each shuttle operates safely while also providing a comfortable journey.

Including Both Factors

When seating preference and capacity constraints are combined in route planning, solutions that cater to both customer satisfaction and operational efficiency are produced. Optimized routes that follow these factors result in better customer experiences, streamlined operations, lower costs, and better resource utilization.

As technology advances, route optimization algorithms that take these factors into account become indispensable tools in a variety of industries. From passenger transportation to delivery services, these algorithms ensure that routes are not only efficient but also personalized, in line with modern consumers’ evolving expectations.

In this technical notebook, we’ll delve into the complexities of the NextBillion (NB) Route Optimization API, focusing on a scenario with seating preferences. Consider the case where passengers prefer to sit in the front seat of a passenger vehicle whenever possible. They are, however, willing to sit in the back seat if necessary. Our goal is to optimize routes while catering to these seating preferences, ensuring passenger satisfaction while maintaining efficiency.

Defining the Objective Function

The crux of route planning is defining an objective function that encompasses our objectives. In our case, we want to reduce transportation “cost” while also taking into account travel time or distance between locations. Our mathematical objective function is:


  • N represents the set of customers (1, 2, …, n) that need service.
  • Cij denotes the transportation cost between location i and location j.

Introducing Capacity Constraints

Each vehicle is given a capacity constraint by the NB Route Optimization algorithm. This constraint ensures that the total number of customers assigned to a vehicle does not exceed the maximum capacity of the vehicle. Formally, the constraint is as follows:


  • V is the set of all available vehicles.
  • dij represents the demand of customer i to location j.
  • q is the vehicle’s maximum capacity.

Iterative Optimization Process

The notebook explains how to optimize routes iteratively. We begin by defining the city, number of jobs, number of vehicles, front seat preference weights, back seat capacity, and shift definitions. With these parameters in place, we can then submit a series of route planning requests, each with a different weight factor for front seat preference. These iterations aid in the refinement of the solution, allowing us to strike the best balance between seating preferences and the overall objective function taking into account the capacity constraints.

The Route Optimization API goes beyond delivery logistics for logistics managers, transportation planners and businesses; it’s a gateway to revolutionizing routes for unparalleled customer experiences. The key is to understand and accommodate seating preferences, a critical but often overlooked aspect that can completely change the experience. This seemingly insignificant preference has enormous value in terms of passenger comfort and satisfaction. It’s not just about getting from point A to point B; it’s about creating memorable experiences.

This technical notebook provides access to an enlightening world of possibilities. You gain the insights needed to transform logistics into a symphony of efficiency and customer delight by navigating the multifaceted landscape of route planning, capacity constraints and passenger preferences. Set out on a transformative journey that will use cutting-edge technology to reshape how we navigate the world of transportation logistics.