The Node, Edge, and Arc Routing Problem (NEARP) was defined by Prins and Bouchenoua in 2004, although similar problems have been studied before. This problem, also called the Mixed Capacitated General Routing Problem (MCGRP), generalizes the classical Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP), the Capacitated Arc Routing Problem (CARP), and the General Routing Problem. It captures important aspects of real-life routing problems that were not adequately modeled in previous Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) variants. The authors also proposed a memetic algorithm procedure and defined a set of test instances called the CBMix benchmark. The NEARP definition and investigation contribute to the development of rich VRPs. In this paper we present the first lower bound procedure for the NEARP. It is a further development of lower bounds for the CARP. We also define two novel sets of test instances to complement the CBMix benchmark. The first is based on well-known CARP instances; the second consists of real life cases of newspaper delivery routing. We provide numerical results in the form of lower and best known upper bounds for all instances of all three benchmarks. For three of the instances, the gap between the upper and lower bound is closed. The average gap is 25.1%. As the lower bound procedure is based on a high quality lower bound procedure for the CARP, and there has been limited work on approximate solution methods for the NEARP, we suspect that a main reason for the rather large gaps is the quality of the upper bound. This fact, and the high industrial relevance of the NEARP, should motivate more research on approximate and exact methods for this important problem.
Computers and Operations Research, 2013, Vol Vol. 40, Issue 4