Dial-a-ride problem with modular platooning and en-route transfers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modular vehicles (MV) possess the ability to physically connect/disconnect with each other and travel in platoon with less energy consumption. A fleet of demand-responsive transit vehicles with such technology can serve passengers door to door or have vehicles deviate to platoon with each other to travel at lower cost and allow for en-route passenger transfers before splitting. A mixed integer linear programming (MILP) model is formulated to solve this “modular dial-a-ride problem” (MDARP). A heuristic algorithm based on Steiner-tree-inspired large neighborhood search is developed to solve the MDARP for practical scenarios. A set of small-scale synthetic numerical experiments are tested to evaluate the optimality gap and computation time between exact solutions of the MDARP using commercial software and the proposed heuristic. Large-scale experiments are conducted on the Anaheim network with up to 75 vehicles and 150 requests considering 378 candidate join/split nodes to further explore the potentials and identify the ideal operation scenarios of MVs. The results show that MV technology can save up to 52% in vehicle travel cost, 41% in passenger service time, and 29% in total cost against existing on-demand mobility services in the scenarios tested. Results suggest that MVs best benefit from platooning by serving “enclave pairs” as a hub-and-spoke service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104191
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Dial-a-ride problem
  • Modular vehicle
  • Pickup and delivery problem with transfer
  • Synchronized En-route Transfers
  • Variable capacity
  • Vehicle platooning problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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